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Inferior vena cava

From Academic Kids

The inferior vena cava (or IVC) is a large vein that carries de-oxygenated blood from the lower half of the body into the heart. The vein connects to the heart at a valve attached to the right atrium. In the other direction the vein travels along the back wall of the abdominal cavity between the peritoneum and the vertebrae, and to the right of the abdominal aorta, until it branches into the iliac veins which receive blood from the legs.

Though the IVC is primarily a vein from the legs to the heart as just described, there are also interconnections (anastomoses) between it and other blood vessels. Two good examples are the azygos vein system and the venous plexuses next to the spinal cord.

Health problems attributed to the IVC are typically associated to something pressing against it, and not to ruptures. Two common sources of pressure are the aorta and a fetus within a pregnant female.

The vein that carries de-oxygenated blood from the upper half of the body is the superior vena cava.

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