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Anatomy Atlases: Illustrated Encyclopedia of Human Anatomic Variation: Opus II: Cardiovascular System: Veins: Head, Neck, and Thorax: Subclavian Vein

Illustrated Encyclopedia of Human Anatomic Variation: Opus II: Cardiovascular System: Veins: Head, Neck, and Thorax

Subclavian Vein

Ronald A. Bergman, PhD
Adel K. Afifi, MD, MS
Ryosuke Miyauchi, MD

Peer Review Status: Internally Peer Reviewed

The subclavian vein may run on a higher plane than usual, even lying above the subclavian artery.

It may pass with the artery behind the scalenus anterior, or run behind the scalenus anterior with the artery lying in front of that muscle.

The vein may split forming a venous circle enclosing the clavicle, scalenus anterior and/ or the phrenic nerve. In the case of the clavicular loop, Lewis (1909) reported that a small vein ventral to the subclavius muscle is present in early development. accounting for the possible formation of a venous loop.

It occasionally passes between the clavicle and the subclavius muscle.

The subclavian may directly receive an inferior superficial cervicle, transverse cervicle, transverse scapular, suprascapular, anterior jugular, bronchial, cephalic, or vena comites of the brachial artery.

Image 45A


Gladstone, R.J. and C.P.G. Wakeley. (1915) Two cases, considered from the developmental standpoint, in which the right subclavian artery arose from the arch of the aorta beyond the origin of the left subclavian artery; with a note on the relation of the subclavian veins to the cardinal system. J. Anat. Physiol. 49:362-374.

Gruber, W. (1876) über den anomalen Intraclavicularkanal zum durchgange für Venen. Arch. Pathol. Anat. Physiol. Klin. Med. 66:457-461.

Lewis, F.T. (1909) On the cervical veins and lymphatics in four human embryos, with an interpretation of anomalies of the subclavian and jugular veins in the adult. Am. J. Anat. 9:33-42.

See also the general references cited for the Internal Jugular Vein.

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