Brachiocephalic vein

Dr Craig Hacking and Dr Henry Knipe et al.

Brachiocephalic veins (BCV) drain the head, neck, upper limbs and part of the thorax and mediastinum.

Gross anatomy


In the root of the neck, the internal jugular and subclavian veins unite to form the brachiocephalic veins posterior to the medial ends of the clavicles.


The left brachiocephalic runs a long, oblique course to unite with the right brachiocephalic vein posterior to the first sternocostal joint to form the superior vena cava. The right brachiocephalic vein runs a vertical course.

  • anteriorly: pleura, upper lobes, thymus, manubrium
  • posteriorly: aortic arch (left BCV), great vessels, the dome of the pleura
Anatomy: Thoracic
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Article information

rID: 24463
System: Chest, Vascular
Section: Anatomy
Tag: cases
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Brachiocephalic veins
  • Brachiocephalic vein (BCV)
  • Innominate vein
  • Innominate veins

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Cases and figures

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    Case 1: contrast refluxing into a thymic vein
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    Figure 1: mediastinum (Gray's illustration)
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