Heart & Cardiology/Distended neck vein...


Dear sir/madam,
I have recently become concerned that the vein on the right side of my neck is visible when I turn my head to the left.
I seems to protrude but is straight. I presume that it is my external jugular vein and stretches from my clavicle to about an inch from my jaw line.
I haven't noticed it pulsing and isn't noticeably painful but when pressed in any part gently it swells...is this normal?
I can sometimes see my pulse in the sides of my neck below my jaw and I have been getting palpitations of between one and several beats for around 6 months...I believe that these are caused by anxiety but they have become a little more frequent recently or perhaps that I notice them more.

I have been a little sedentary for around a year but was previously extremely active in sport and fitness.
I am a 37 year old male and have smoked roughly 20 a day for 20 years.
I have around 12% body fat, I am 6'4 and weigh 165lbs.

I note that I was seen in accident and emergency 3 weeks ago for severe back pain...because I also had chest pain they did an ecg, urine and blood tests including reactive protein testing.
I was told that all was normal except a high bilirubin level which was 22...2 years prior it was also 23 and I have suspected Gilbert syndrome.
My prior ecg to this was 6 months ago and was also normal.

I have no major sweating or breathlessness on exertion but am quite anxious about the distension of this vein.
Is it possible that muscle or posture can cause the distension of this vein also...it bothers me that slight pressure causes it to swell but if I position my shoulders back and my head upright it is not visible at all.
I don't know if it is worthy to note that my neck has seemed slightly swollen where my glands are under my jaw and I have been getting jaw ache with face ache that I think is sinusitis...this does seem to be subsiding a little btw.

Any insight would be greatly appreciated.
Kindest regards


Hi Daniele,
Too many things going on w/o a doctor's full consultation. Distended neck veins can be nothing serious or be caused by an obstruction or something like heart failure (unlikely in your case). You need to see your doctor first!
Hope this helps,
Dr T

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