What Are Venae Cavae?
Venae cavae are the two largest veins in the body. These blood vessels carry de-oxygenated blood from various regions of the body to the right atrium of the heart. As the de-oxygenated blood is returned to the heart and continues to flow through the cardiac cycle, it is transported to the lungs where it becomes oxygenated. The blood then travels back to the heart and is pumped out to the rest of the body via the aorta. Oxygen depleted blood is returned to the heart again via the venae cavae.
The superior vena cava is located in the upper chest region and is formed by the joining of the brachiocephalic veins. It is bordered by heart structures such as the aorta and pulmonary artery. The inferior vena cava is formed by the joining of the common iliac veins which meet a little below the small of the back. The inferior vena cava travels along the spine and transports blood from the lower extremities of the body to the posterior region of the right atrium.
Function of the Venae Cavae
- Superior Vena Cava: Brings de-oxygenated blood from the head, neck, arm and chest regions of the body to the right atrium.
- Inferior Vena Cava: Brings de-oxygenated blood from the lower body regions (legs, back, abdomen and pelvis) to the right atrium.