Smallest cardiac veins

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Smallest cardiac veins
Latin Venae cardiacae minimae,
venae cordis minimae
TA A12.3.01.013
FMA 71568
Anatomical terminology

The smallest cardiac veins (or Thebesian veins) are minute valveless veins in the walls of all four heart chambers. The veins are frequently confused with arterial fistula and a distinct set of artery connections eponymously referred to as the "vessels of Wearn".[1][2] The Thebesian veins are reportedly most abundant in the right atrium and least in the left ventricle. They drain the myocardium[3] and pass through the endocardial layer to empty mostly into the right atrium, but a few empty into the ventricles. This is different from most cardiac veins, which normally empty into the coronary sinus, which then empties into the right atrium. The Thebesian venous network is considered an alternative venous drainage of the myocardium.

The openings of smallest cardiac veins are located in the endocardium. Here the smallest cardiac veins return blood into the heart chambers from the capillary bed in the muscular cardiac wall, enabling a form of collateral circulation unique to the heart. Not every endocardial opening connects to the Thebesian veins as some connect to the vessels of Wearn, which are arteries. Therefore, the endocardial opening must be traced to a vein before it is definitely called an opening of the smallest cardiac veins.

The Thebesian veins are named after the German anatomist Adam Christian Thebesius, who described them in a 1708 treatise called Disputatio medica inauguralis de circulo sanguinis in corde.[4][5]


  1. ^ Snodgrass, Brett Thomas (1 July 2012). "Vessels Described by Thebesius and Pratt Are Distinct From Those Described by Vieussens and Wearn". The American Journal of Cardiology 110 (1): 160. doi:10.1016/j.amjcard.2012.04.005. PMID 22704295. 
  2. ^ Snodgrass, Brett (Available online 13 June 2014). Yunqing Li, Changman Zhou, ed. "Abstracts of IFAA Congress". Annals of Anatomy (Elsevier GmbH). 196S1: 4. doi:10.1016/j.aanat.2014.05.035. Retrieved 15 August 2014.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  3. ^ A. M. R. Agur; Arthur F. Dalley (2009). Grant's atlas of anatomy. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. pp. 53–. ISBN 978-0-7817-7055-2. Retrieved 31 October 2010. 
  4. ^ synd/4013 at Who Named It?
  5. ^ A. C. Thebesius. Disputatio medica inauguralis de circulo sanguinis in corde. Doctoral dissertation, Leiden, 1708.

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