The Major Veins

Veins are those large vessels which carry blood towards the heart. They are often also thought of as vessels which carry deoxygenated blood, although the pulmonary veins are exceptional in that they carry oxygenated blood from the lungs to the heart. The walls of veins have essentially the same three layers as arterial vessel walls. However, veins tend to have thinner walls with fewer elastic fibers. Therefore, veins collapse more easily under external pressure. Normally pressure within veins is lower than arterial pressure, and so some veins contain valves to ensure that the blood continues to move towards the heart.

The two largest veins entering the heart are the superior vena cava and inferior vena cava. There are also small coronary veins which drain blood from the tissues of the heart into the right atrium. The superior vena cava receives blood from the upper body, and is formed by the union of the right and left brachiocephalic veins. The superior vena cava also receives some blood from the posterior body wall via the azygous vein. The brachiocephalic veins divide into the internal jugular veins and external jugular veins, as well as the subclavian veins. The external jugular vein receives blood from the outside of the skull, while the internal jugular vein receives blood from within the cranium.

The subclavian vein travels with the subclavian artery towards the shoulder. Its first major branch is the vertebral vein which passes through the transverse processes of the sixth to first cervical vertebrae before entering the foramen magnum. As the subclavian vein passes beneath the glenohumeral joint it gives off the cephalic vein and becomes the axillary vein before entering the upper arm. As it enters the upper arm, the axillary vein becomes the brachial vein which branches into the superficial basilic vein as well as the deep radial vein and ulnar vein. As they cross the elbow the superficial cephalic and basilic veins are linked by the median cubital vein which is a convenient site from which to draw blood.

Blood from the lower body is drained towards the right atrium via the inferior vena cava. Venous blood from many abdominal organs, such as the spleen, stomach, pancreas, gall bladder and intestines, does not drain directly into the inferior vena cava. Instead the splenic, gastric, pancreatic, cystic and mesenteric veins drain first into the hepatic portal vein. This vein carries blood through the liver where important nutrients can be recovered before the blood passes through the hepatic vein into the inferior vena cava. Renal, suprarenal, right ovarian and right spermatic veins drain directly into the inferior vena cava.

At approximately the level of the lumbosacral junction, the inferior vena cava divides into left and right common iliac veins. The common iliac veins divide into internal iliac veins and external iliac veins. The internal iliac veins drain blood from the pelvic organs. The external iliac veins pass beneath the inguinal ligament and enter the thigh as the femoral veins. The femoral vein gives off a large superficial branch, the great saphenous vein, which runs down the medial aspect of the leg. As it passes behind the knee, the femoral vein becomes the popliteal vein and gives off a second superficial branch, the small saphenous vein which runs down the posterior aspect of the leg. The popliteal vein then divides into the anterior tibial vein and posterior tibial vein which serve the lower leg and foot.


English - French Lexicon

hepatic vein: veine hépatique ;hepatic portal vein: veine porte ;inferior vena cava: veine cave inférieure ;jugular vein:  veine jugulaire ;saphenous vein: veine saphène ; superior vena cava: veine cave supérieure

English - Japanese Lexicon

anterior tibial vein: 前脛骨静脈 (zenkeikotsujyoumyaku); axillary vein: 腋窩静脈 (ekikajyoumyaku); azygous vein: 奇静脈 (kijyoumyaku); basilic vein: 尺側皮静脈 (shakusokuhijyoumyaku); brachial vein: 上腕静脈 (jyouwanjyoumyaku); brachiocephalic vein: 腕頭静脈 (wantoujoumyaku); cephalic vein: 頭側皮静脈 (tousokuhijyoumyaku); common iliac vein: 総腸骨静脈 (souchoukotsujyoumyaku); coronary vein: 冠状静脈 (kanjoujoumyaku); external iliac vein: 外腸骨静脈 (gaichoukotsujyoumyaku); external jugular vein: 外頚静脈 (gaikeijyoumyaku); femoral vein: 大腿静脈 (daitaijyoumyaku); gastric vein: 胃冠状静脈 (ikanjoujoumyaku); great saphenous vein: 大伏在静脈 (daifukuzaijyoumyaku); hepatic vein: 肝静脈 (kanjyoumyaku); hepatic portal vein: 門脈 (monmyaku); inferior vena cava: 下大静脈 (kadaijyoumyaku); internal iliac vein: 内腸骨静脈 (naichoukotsujyoumyaku); internal jugular vein: 内頚静脈 (naikeijyoumyaku); median cubital vein: 肘正中皮静脈 (hijiseichuujyoumyaku); mesenteric vein: 腸間膜静脈 (choukanmakujyoumyaku); ovarian vein: 卵巣静脈 (ransoujyoumyaku); pancreatic vein: 膵静脈 (suijyoumyaku); popliteal vein: 膝窩静脈 (shitsukajyoumyaku); posterior tibial vein: pulmonary vein: 肺静脈 (haijyoumyaku); radial vein: renal vein: 腎静脈 (jinjyoumyaku); small saphenous vein: 小伏在静脈 (shoufukuzaijyoumyaku); spermatic vein: 精子静脈 (seishijyoumyaku); splenic vein: 脾静脈 (hijyoumyaku); subclavian vein: 鎖骨下静脈 (sakotsukajyoumyaku); superior vena cava: 上大静脈 (jyoudaijyoumyaku); suprarenal vein: 副腎静脈 (fukujinjoumyaku); ulnar vein: 尺側静脈 (shakusokujyoumyaku); vertebral vein: 椎骨静脈 (tsuikotsujyoumyaku)