Retro-aortic left brachiocephalic vein

Last revised by Henry Knipe on 2 Jan 2019

The retro-aortic left brachiocephalic vein is a rare vascular variant where the left brachiocephalic vein passes more inferiorly through the superior mediastinum, coursing inferior to the aortic arch and posterior to the ascending aorta to join the right brachiocepahilc vein forming the superior vena cava. The usual anatomy is for the vein to pass higher and more horizontally through the superior mediastinum, anterior to the branches of the aortic arch.


Retro-aortic left brachiocephalic vein has a high association with congenital cardiac disease, with the highest associations including:

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Cases and figures

  • Case 1
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