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Subclavian vein

Dr Yahya Baba and Dr Matthew Jarvis et al.

The subclavian vein is the major venous channel that drains the upper limb.

Gross anatomy

Origin and course

The subclavian vein starts at the crossing of the lateral border of the 1st rib. It then arches cephalad, posterior to the medial clavicle before curving caudally and receiving its only tributary, the external jugular vein, which drains into the subclavian vein at the lateral border of the anterior scalene muscle. The subclavian vein then joins the internal jugular vein posterior to the sternoclavicular joint, where it forms the brachiocephalic vein. The thoracic duct and right lymphatic duct drain into the central venous system at this point.

  • posterior: subclavian artery, anterior scalene muscle, 1st rib, pleura
  • anterior: clavicle

Related pathology

Anatomy: Thoracic

Anatomy: Thoracic

Article information

rID: 35014
System: Chest, Vascular
Section: Anatomy
Tag: refs, refs, refs
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Right subclavian vein
  • Right subclavian veins
  • Left subclavian veins
  • Left subclavian vein
  • Subclavian veins

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