Inferior vena cava

The inferior vena cava is an important vein that drains blood from all of the parts of the body below the diaphragm - including the feet, legs, reproductive, and lower-abdominal organs.

The inferior vena cava is formed by the junction of the two common iliac veins (veins of the legs) where they join on the right-hand side of the 5th lumbar vertebra. The inferior vena cava then passes vertically upwards along the front of the spine, to the right-hand side of the aorta. It then passes through the central tendon of the diaphragm into the pericardium (a sac that surrounds and protects the heart).

The inferior vena cava (vein), together with the superior vena cava, delivers deoxygenated blood collected from from all of the veins throughout the body to the right atrium of the heart.

These veins may be referred to as vena cava, or collectively using the pural form of "vena cava", which is "venae cavae".

For a diagram of the positions of the inferior vena cava and the superior vena cava in relation to the positions of other major veins and arteries, see systemic circulation.

More about the heart and blood circulation: This website includes many pages about the heart, blood, blood circulation, disorders of the blood circulation system, and related topics. Some topics relevant to the subject of this page are listed below. Visit these pages or use the search bar to access further information.

For further information see also our pages of books about heart disease.

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