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.
It 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).
This 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
To view a diagram showing the positions of the superior vena cava and
the inferior vena cava in relative to the positions of other major veis
and arteries, visit the page about Systemic