A lung cancer, enlarged lymph node, or an aortic aneurysm can com-
press the superior vena cava, interfering with return of blood from
the upper body to the heart. This produces pain; shortness of breath;
distension of veins draining into the superior vena cava; and swelling
of tissues in the face, head, and lower limbs. Restriction of blood F
to the brain may threaten life.
Veins from the Upper Limb and Shoulder
A set of deep veins and a set of superF
cial ones drain the
upper limb. The deep veins generally parallel the arteries in
each region and are given similar names. Deep venous drain-
age of the upper limbs begins in the digital veins that drain
into pairs of
radial veins
ulnar veins,
which merge to
form a pair of
brachial veins.
The superF cial veins connect
in complex networks just beneath the skin. They also com-
municate with the deep vessels of the upper limb, providing
many alternate pathways through which the blood can leave
the tissues
g. 15.53)
The major vessels of the superF cial network are the basilic
and cephalic veins. They arise from anastomoses in the palm
and wrist on the ulnar and radial sides, respectively.
veins from all the other parts of the body converge into two
major pathways, the
inferior venae cavae,
which lead to the right atrium.
Veins from the Brain, Head, and Neck
external jugular
drain blood from the
face, scalp, and superF cial regions of the neck. These ves-
sels descend on either side of the neck, passing over the ster-
nocleidomastoid muscles and beneath the platysma. They
empty into the
left subclavian veins
in the base of
the neck
(f g. 15.52)
internal jugular veins,
somewhat larger than the
external jugular veins, arise from many veins and venous
sinuses of the brain and from deep veins in various parts of
the face and neck. They descend through the neck beside the
common carotid arteries and also join the subclavian veins.
These unions of the internal jugular and subclavian veins
form large
on each side. These ves-
sels then merge in the mediastinum and give rise to the
rior vena cava,
which enters the right atrium.
Vertebral v.
Right external
jugular v.
subclavian v.
Right axillary v.
ophthalmic v.
facial v.
Right internal
jugular v.
Right brachiocephalic v.
FIGURE 15.52
The major veins of the brain, head, and neck. The
clavicle has been removed. (
stands for vein.)
Right internal jugular v.
Right external jugular v.
Right subclavian v.
Right brachiocephalic v.
Axillary v.
Brachial vv.
Cephalic v.
Basilic v.
Median cubital v.
Radial vv.
Ulnar vv.
Superior vena cava
Left brachiocephalic v.
Dorsal arch v.
FIGURE 15.53
The major veins of the upper limb and shoulder. (
stands for vein,
stands for veins.)
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