Brachiocephalic vein

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.

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.)
SourceInternal jugular
superior intercostal
inferior thyroid
Drains toSuperior vena cava
ArteryBrachiocephalic artery
Latinvena brachiocephalica
vena anonyma
Anatomical terminology

These veins merge to form the superior vena cava, a great vessel, posterior to 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.


Veins of the thoracic and abdominal regions

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

Embryological origin

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

Additional images


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

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