Superior mesenteric vein

The superior mesenteric vein is a blood vessel that drains blood from the small intestine (jejunum and ileum). At its termination behind the neck of the pancreas, the superior mesenteric vein combines with the splenic vein to form the hepatic portal vein. The superior mesenteric vein lies to the right of the similarly named artery, the superior mesenteric artery, which originates from the abdominal aorta.

Superior mesenteric vein
The abdomen viewed from the front, showing the portal venous system, showing the superior mesenteric vein and its tributaries. (Lienal vein is an old term for splenic vein.)
SystemHepatic portal system
Drains tohepatic portal vein
Arterysuperior mesenteric artery
Latinvena mesenterica superior
Anatomical terminology


Tributaries of the superior mesenteric vein drain the small intestine, large intestine, stomach, pancreas and appendix and include:

Clinical significance

Thrombosis of the superior mesenteric vein is quite rare, but a significant cause of mesenteric ischemia and can be fatal. It is estimated that 10-15% of mesenteric ischemia is due to mesenteric thrombosis.


  1. ^ Tessier DJ, Williams RA, Mesenteric ischemic thrombosis, eMedicine, URL:, Accessed July 30, 2005.

Additional images

  • "Mesenteric vein superior". Medcyclopaedia. GE. Archived from the original on 2008-06-06.
  • Anatomy photo:39:02-0102 at the SUNY Downstate Medical Center - "Intestines and Pancreas: The Superior Mesenteric Vessels"
  • Anatomy image:8696 at the SUNY Downstate Medical Center
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