Inferior vena cava

The inferior vena cavaAnatomical features of the inferior vena cava, its tributaries and venous outflow areas
~ 3 min

In this video, we will consider the anatomy, areas of blood drainage and anastomoses of the inferior vena cava.

The inferior vena cava (v. cava inferior) is the largest, valveless vein. It is located retroperitoneally and arises at the level of the intervertebral disc between the fourth and fifth lumbar vertebrae to the right of the confluence of the left and right common iliac veins.

Inferior vena cava (v. cava inferior)
Inferior vena cava (v. cava inferior)
Left common iliac vein (vena iliaca communis sinistra)
Left common iliac vein (vena iliaca communis sinistra)
Right common iliac vein (vena iliaca communis dextra)
Right common iliac vein (vena iliaca communis dextra)

It is directed upwards along the anterior surface of the right psoas major muscle to the right of the abdominal aorta.

Inferior vena cava (v. cava inferior)
Inferior vena cava (v. cava inferior)

It passes behind the horizontal part of the duodenum, the mead of the pancreas and the mesentery root, then in the liver groove of the same name, by which the hepatic veins end.

Inferior vena cava (v. cava inferior)
Inferior vena cava (v. cava inferior)

Coming out of the groove, the inferior vena cava passes through the foramen of the same name of the central tendon of the diaphragm into the posterior mediastinum, enters the pericardial cavity and being covered by the epicardium ends by the right atrium.

Central tendon of the diaphragm (foramen venae cavae inferioris)
Central tendon of the diaphragm (foramen venae cavae inferioris)
Inferior vena cava (v. cava inferior)
Inferior vena cava (v. cava inferior)

Tributaries of the inferior vena cava are divided into two groups:

  1. Parietal tributaries

  2. Visceral tributaries

The parietal tributaries of the inferior vena cava are a group of veins carrying blood from the walls of the abdominal cavity. This group of veins includes:

Lumbar veins (vv. lumbales) in amount of 3 or 4, which correspond to the branches of the lumbar arteries.

Lumbar veins (vv. lumbales)
Lumbar veins (vv. lumbales)

The lumbar veins of each side anastomose with each other through the right and left ascending lumbar veins. Spinal veins, through which blood flows from the vertebral venous plexuses, end by the lumbar veins.

Lumbar veins (vv. lumbales ascendens)
Lumbar veins (vv. lumbales ascendens)
Spinal veins (vv. spinales)
Spinal veins (vv. spinales)

Inferior phrenic veins (vv. phrenicae inferiores), right and left, two on each side, adhere to the artery of the same name, end by the inferior vena cava after its exit from the groove for the vena cava of the liver.

Inferior phrenic veins (right) (vv. phrenicae inferiores)
Inferior phrenic veins (right) (vv. phrenicae inferiores)
Inferior phrenic veins (left) (vv. phrenicae inferiores)
Inferior phrenic veins (left) (vv. phrenicae inferiores)

The visceral tributaries of the inferior vena cava are a group of veins carrying blood from internal organs. This group of veins includes:

The testicular (ovarian) vein (v. testicularis – ovarica) is a paired vein that arises from the posterior border of the testicle in men (and from the hilum of the ovary in women) with numerous veins that entwine the artery of the same name, forming a pampiniform plexus (plexus pampiniformis), which in men is part of the spermatic cord. Merging with each other, small veins at the exit from the inguinal canal form one venous trunk on each side. The right testicular (or ovarian) vein ends by into the inferior vena cava at an acute angle, and the left one ends by the left renal vein at a straight angle.

Testicular (ovarian) vein (v. testicularis)
Testicular (ovarian) vein (v. testicularis)
Testicular (ovarian) vein (v. ovarica)
Testicular (ovarian) vein (v. ovarica)
Pampiniform plexus (plexus pampiniformis)
Pampiniform plexus (plexus pampiniformis)
Pampiniform plexus (plexus pampiniformis)
Pampiniform plexus (plexus pampiniformis)

The renal vein (v. renalis) is paired and passes from the hilum of the kidney horizontally in front of the renal artery.

At the level of the intervertebral disc between the first and second lumbar vertebrae, the vein ends by the inferior vena cava. The left renal vein passes in front of the aorta and is longer than the right one. Both veins anastomose with the lumbar veins, as well as with the right and left ascending lumbar veins.

renal vein (v. renalis)
renal vein (v. renalis)
renal vein (v. renalis)
renal vein (v. renalis)

The suprarenal vein (v. suprarenalis) is short, valveless, arises from the hilum of the adrenal gland. The left adrenal vein ends by the left renal vein, and the right one ends by the inferior vena cava.

Suprarenal vein (vv. suprarenales)
Suprarenal vein (vv. suprarenales)

Hepatic veins (vv. hepaticae) in the amount of 3 or 4 pcs. are located directly in the hepatic parenchyma, end by the inferior vena cava in the place where it lies in the liver groove. The valves are not always prominent in them.

Suprarenal vein (vv. hepaticae)
Suprarenal vein (vv. hepaticae)

One of the hepatic veins (usually the right one) communicates with the venous ligament of the liver (lig. venosum), which is a closed venous duct functioning in the fetus.

Dictionary

The inferior vena cava

Inferior vena cava
v. cava inferior
Lumbar veins
vv. lumbales
Inferior phrenic veins
vv. phrenicae inferiores
Testicular (ovarian) vein
v. testicularis/ovarica
Pampiniform plexus
plexus pampiniformis
Renal vein
v. renalis
Suprarenal vein
v. suprarenalis
Hepatic veins
vv. hepaticae
Venous ligament of the liver
lig. venosum
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