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Venae cavae

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Title: Venae cavae  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
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Subject: Heart, Vein, Blood vessel, Circulatory system, Terminologia Histologica
Collection: Veins
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Venae cavae

venae cavae
The human heart and nearby structures, with superior and inferior vena cava labeled at left side of image.
Gray's p.529
MeSH A07.231.908.949
Anatomical terminology

The venae cavae (from the Latin for "hollow veins", feminine plural) are the two large veins (venous trunks) that return deoxygenated blood from the body into the heart. They are the superior vena cava and the inferior vena cava. Both empty into the right atrium.[1]

The inferior vena cava (or caudal vena cava in animals) travels up alongside the abdominal aorta with blood from the lower part of the body (see # 11 in the diagram). It is the largest vein in the body.[2]

The superior vena cava (or cranial vena cava in animals) is above the heart, and forms from a convergence of the left and right brachiocephalic veins, which contain blood from the head and the arms (see #3 in the diagram).


Origin: 1590–1600; New Latin vena cava (sg), venae cavae (pl), 'hollow vein/veins'. Although the classical Latin pronunciation of venae cavae would be approximately , the standard English medical pronunciation is .


  1. ^ vena cava. Retrieved 19 September 2013.
  2. ^ What is the largest vein in the human body?. MadSci Network: Anatomy. Retrieved 19 September 2013.
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