Venae cavae

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Venae cavae
Relations of the aorta, trachea, esophagus and other heart structures.png
The human heart and nearby structures, with superior and inferior vena cava labeled at left side of image.
MeSH D014684
FMA 321896
Anatomical terminology

The venae cavae (/ˈvni ˈkvi/;[1] from the Latin for "hollow veins", singular "vena cava" /ˈvnə ˈkvə/)[2] are two large veins (venous trunks) that return deoxygenated blood from the body into the heart. In humans there are the superior vena cava and the inferior vena cava, and both empty into the right atrium.[3] They are located slightly off-center, toward the right side of the body.

The inferior vena cava (or caudal vena cava in some animals) travels up alongside the abdominal aorta with blood from the lower part of the body. It is the largest vein in the human body.[4]

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.


  1. ^ Merriam-Webster, Merriam-Webster's Unabridged Dictionary, Merriam-Webster. 
  2. ^ Cambridge Dictionary, Cambridge Dictionary, Cambridge Dictionary. 
  3. ^ vena cava. Retrieved 19 September 2013.
  4. ^ What is the largest vein in the human body?. MadSci Network: Anatomy. Retrieved 19 September 2013.