Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, MD, FFARCSI

What Are Venae Cavae?

The venae cavae are a pair of largest veins in the body. There are two venae cavae which are the superior vena cava and the inferior vena cava. The function of these veins is to transport deoxygenated blood from different parts of the body to the heart. This deoxygenated blood is then transported through the pulmonary artery to the lungs where the blood gets oxygenated and sent back to the heart from where it is transported back to all parts of the body through the aorta.

The oxygen transported to the vital organs of the body is then consumed and exchanged with carbon dioxide and the same deoxygenated blood is again carried to the heart through the superior and inferior vena cava. The superior vena cava is located in the upper chest and is formed by brachiocephalic vein while the inferior vena cava is located in the back region of the body and runs along the spine and parallel to the aorta.

Anatomically speaking, the walls of the vena cavae are made up of three layers of tissues. The outer layer is composed of collagen and elastic fiber tissues. This layer makes the vena cava strong and flexible. The middle layer is made up of smooth muscle. The third layer is made up of endothelium lining. This lining prevents the platelets from clustering together and allows free flow of blood through the veins.

What Is The Function Of The Superior Vena Cava?

As stated, the super vena cava is located in the upper chest region. As the location of the vein would suggest, the function of the superior vena cava is to carry blood from the face, neck, arms, and other upper body locations to the right atrium of the heart.

What Is The Function Of The Inferior Vena Cava?

Since the inferior vena cava is located along the spine and the back, it in itself suggests that the function of inferior vena cava is to carry deoxygenated blood from the lower extremities like the legs, back, abdomen and pelvis to the heart.

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Pramod Kerkar

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

, MD,FFARCSI

Pain Assist Inc.

Last Modified On: February 20, 2018

This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer

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