Retro-aortic left brachiocephalic vein

Dr Henry Knipe and Assoc Prof Craig Hacking et al.

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:

Anatomy: Thoracic

Anatomy: Thoracic

Article information

rID: 63174
System: Vascular, Chest
Section: Anatomy
Tag: cases
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Retro-aortic left innominate vein

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Cases and figures

  • Case 1
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