brachiocephalic vein (right, anatomy)

Last reviewed 01/2018

The right brachiocephalic vein is one of the major veins within the superior mediastinum. It drains venous blood from the right subclavian vein and internal jugular vein; hence, it drains venous blood from the territories of the right arm and right side of the head and neck respectively.

The right brachiocephalic vein:

  • originates deep to the right sternoclavicular joint as the confluence of right internal jugular vein and right subclavian vein
  • it descends with a slight medial incline to merge with the left brachiocephalic vein deep to the first right costal cartilage; together they form the superior vena cava
  • its relations are:
    • posteromedially: right brachiocephalic arterial trunk and more inferiorly, right vagus nerve interposed between trunk and vein
    • posterolaterally: phrenic nerve and internal thoracic artery passing from posterior to anterior
    • laterally and superior: first rib superior to apex of right lung
    • anteriorly: sternum and thymus inferiorly

The right brachiocephalic vein is shorter than the left vein. Usually near the convergence of internal jugular vein and subclavian vein, it may receive lymphatics from the:

  • right lymphatic duct
  • right jugular lymph trunk
  • subclavian lymph trunk