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Axillary vein

The axillary vein runs along the medial side of the axillary artery. It begins at the lateral border of the first rib, later draining into the subclavian vein. The vein receives the axillary artery's tributaries. The cephalic vein connects with the axillary vein forming the subclavian vein. The vein transports blood from the thorax, armpit, and upper limb. Both sides of the body each have an axillary vein. Their tributaries are the basilic and cephalic veins. One condition involving the axillary vein is known as axillary vein thrombosis. This causes swelling and pain in the upper limb. It is due to occlusion, or blockage, of both the subclavian and axillary veins. Very few cases of deep vein thrombosis are associated with axillary vein thrombosis. A quarter of patients who undergo central venous cannulation have reported occurrences of axillary vein thrombosis. Central venous cannulation refers to the process of inserting a cannula, or catheter, into a large vein for the purposes of taking blood samples, administering medication, or measuring pressure within the vein.

Written and medically reviewed by the Healthline Editorial Team
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In Depth: Axillary vein

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