Brachiocephalic vein

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Brachiocephalic vein
The thyroid gland and its relations. (Label for "Right innom. vein" and "Left innom. vein" visible at bottom center.)
The arch of the aorta, and its branches. (Right innom. vein labeled at upper right; left innominate vein labeled at center top.)
Latin Vena brachiocephalica, vena anonyma
Internal jugular
superior intercostal
inferior thyroid
Drains to
Superior vena cava
Brachiocephalic artery
Gray's p.664
MeSH A07.231.908.130
TA A12.3.04.001
FMA 4723
Anatomical terminology

The left and right brachiocephalic veins (or innominate veins) in the upper chest are formed by the union of each corresponding internal jugular vein and subclavian vein. This is at the level of the sternoclavicular joint.[1] The left brachiocephalic vein is usually longer than the right.

These great vessels merge to form the superior vena cava behind the junction of the first costal cartilage with the manubrium sternum.

The brachiocephalic veins are the major veins returning blood to the superior vena cava.


The brachiocephalic vein is formed by the confluence of the subclavian and internal jugular veins. In addition it receives drainage from:

- Left and right internal thoracic veins: drain into the inferior border of their corresponding vein

- Left and right inferior thyroid veins: drain into the superior aspect of their corresponding veins near the confluence

- Left superior intercostal vein: drains into the left brachiocephalic vein[2]

Embryological Origin[edit]

The left brachiocephalic vein forms from the anastamosis formed between the left and right anterior cardinal veins when the caudal portion of the left anterior cardinal vein degenerates.

Additional images[edit]



External links[edit]


  1. ^ Chitnis, Cumberbatch, Gankande. Practice Papers for MCEM Part A, Wiley-Blackwell 2010
  2. ^ Ryan, McNicholas & Eustace "Anatomy for Diagnostic Imaging: 3rd Edition"