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When it occurs in a vein near the surface of the skin, it is known as superficial thrombophlebitis, a minor disorder commonly identified by a red, tender vein. It may produce less-pronounced symptoms at first half of all cases are asymptomatic but carries the risks of pulmonary embolism when the clot detaches from its place of origin and travels to the lung and chronic venous insufficiency impaired outflow of blood through the veins , resulting in dermatitis, increased skin pigmentation and swelling.

When to Call Your Doctor Call your doctor if you have a painful, swollen vein that does not disappear in a few days, or if you have unexplained swelling in an arm or leg. Prevention Follow prevention tips as recommended by your doctor. These can include walking, controlling weight, wearing low-heeled shoes and avoiding long periods of sitting or standing in one position.

Following a heart attack or major surgery, low doses of an anticoagulant such as heparin or warfarin may be recommended. Getting up and walking around again as soon as possible following either of those events is also advised. Diagnosis Varicose vein diagnosis may be made by observation of veins and does not require a doctor.

Varicose veins - symptoms, causes, treatment

In some cases x-rays may be taken after a contrast medium is injected into the veins venography to highlight them. Doctors can usually diagnose superficial thrombophlebitis based on your medical history and a physical examination. Deep-vein thrombophlebitis is harder to diagnose, so the doctor may require further tests.


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A venous duplex examination, a type of imaging test, to see how efficiently the veins are returning blood to your heart is often performed. This test also detects blood clots in the legs. While you lie on your back, a small ultrasound imaging device is placed on the skin over the major veins in the leg, allowing the technician to see the veins and listen to the flow of blood. Pictures may be taken at various sites. Treatment Doctors at Johns Hopkins recommend the following for treating varicose veins:. Right coronary artery RCA - supplies blood to the right atrium, right ventricle, bottom portion of the left ventricle and back of the septum.

It is divided into the left and right side by a muscular wall called the septum. The right and left sides of the heart are further divided into:. As blood leaves each chamber of the heart, it passes through a valve. There are four heart valves within the heart:. The tricuspid and mitral valves lie between the atria and ventricles. The aortic and pulmonic valves lie between the ventricles and the major blood vessels leaving the heart.

The heart valves work the same way as one-way valves in the plumbing of your home, preventing blood from flowing in the wrong direction.

Your Heart & Blood Vessels | Cleveland Clinic

Each valve has a set of flaps, called leaflets or cusps. The mitral valve has two leaflets; the others have three. The leaflets are attached to and supported by a ring of tough, fibrous tissue called the annulus. Veins are less muscular than arteries and are often closer to the skin.

There are valves in most veins to prevent backflow. Veins are present throughout the body as tubes that carry blood back to the heart. Veins are classified in a number of ways, including superficial vs. Most veins are equipped with valves to prevent blood flowing in the reverse direction. Veins are translucent, so the color a vein appears from an organism's exterior is determined in large part by the color of venous blood , which is usually dark red as a result of its low oxygen content.

Veins appear blue because the subcutaneous fat absorbs low-frequency light, permitting only the highly energetic blue wavelengths to penetrate through to the dark vein and reflect back to the viewer. The colour of a vein can be affected by the characteristics of a person's skin, how much oxygen is being carried in the blood, and how big and deep the vessels are. The largest veins in the human body are the venae cavae. These are two large veins which enter the right atrium of the heart from above and below.

The superior vena cava carries blood from the arms and head to the right atrium of the heart, while the inferior vena cava carries blood from the legs and abdomen to the heart. The inferior vena cava is retroperitoneal and runs to the right and roughly parallel to the abdominal aorta along the spine.

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Large veins feed into these two veins, and smaller veins into these. Together this forms the venous system. Whilst the main veins hold a relatively constant position, the position of veins person to person can display quite a lot of variation. The pulmonary veins carry relatively oxygenated blood from the lungs to the heart. The superior and inferior venae cavae carry relatively deoxygenated blood from the upper and lower systemic circulations, respectively.

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The portal venous system is a series of veins or venules that directly connect two capillary beds. Examples of such systems include the hepatic portal vein and hypophyseal portal system. The peripheral veins carry blood from the limbs and hands and feet. Microscopically , veins have a thick outer layer made of connective tissue , called the tunica externa or tunica adventitia. There is a middle layer of bands of smooth muscle called tunica media , which are, in general, much thinner than those of arteries, as veins do not function primarily in a contractile manner and are not subject to the high pressures of systole , as arteries are.

The interior is lined with endothelial cells called tunica intima. The precise location of veins varies much more from person to person than that of arteries. Veins serve to return blood from organs to the heart.

In systemic circulation oxygenated blood is pumped by the left ventricle through the arteries to the muscles and organs of the body, where its nutrients and gases are exchanged at capillaries. After taking up cellular waste and carbon dioxide in capillaries, blood is channeled through vessels that converge with one another to form venules, which continue to converge and form the larger veins.

The de- oxygenated blood is taken by veins to the right atrium of the heart, which transfers the blood to the right ventricle , where it is then pumped through the pulmonary arteries to the lungs. In pulmonary circulation the pulmonary veins return oxygenated blood from the lungs to the left atrium , which empties into the left ventricle, completing the cycle of blood circulation. The return of blood to the heart is assisted by the action of the muscle pump , and by the thoracic pump action of breathing during respiration.

Standing or sitting for a prolonged period of time can cause low venous return from venous pooling vascular shock. Fainting can occur but usually baroreceptors within the aortic sinuses initiate a baroreflex such that angiotensin II and norepinephrine stimulate vasoconstriction and heart rate increases to return blood flow. Neurogenic and hypovolaemic shock can also cause fainting.

In these cases, the smooth muscles surrounding the veins become slack and the veins fill with the majority of the blood in the body, keeping blood away from the brain and causing unconsciousness. Jet pilots wear pressurized suits to help maintain their venous return and blood pressure. The arteries are perceived as carrying oxygenated blood to the tissues, while veins carry deoxygenated blood back to the heart. This is true of the systemic circulation, by far the larger of the two circuits of blood in the body, which transports oxygen from the heart to the tissues of the body.

However, in pulmonary circulation, the arteries carry deoxygenated blood from the heart to the lungs, and veins return blood from the lungs to the heart. The difference between veins and arteries is their direction of flow out of the heart by arteries, returning to the heart for veins , not their oxygen content. In addition, deoxygenated blood that is carried from the tissues back to the heart for reoxygenation in the systemic circulation still carries some oxygen, though it is considerably less than that carried by the systemic arteries or pulmonary veins.

Although most veins take blood back to the heart, there is an exception. Portal veins carry blood between capillary beds. For example, the hepatic portal vein takes blood from the capillary beds in the digestive tract and transports it to the capillary beds in the liver. The blood is then drained in the gastrointestinal tract and spleen, where it is taken up by the hepatic veins, and blood is taken back into the heart.

Since this is an important function in mammals, damage to the hepatic portal vein can be dangerous. Blood clotting in the hepatic portal vein can cause portal hypertension, which results in a decrease of blood fluid to the liver.

The vessels that remove the deoxygenated blood from the heart muscle are known as cardiac veins. These include the great cardiac vein , the middle cardiac vein , the small cardiac vein , the smallest cardiac veins , and the anterior cardiac veins. Coronary veins carry blood with a poor level of oxygen , from the myocardium to the right atrium. Most of the blood of the coronary veins returns through the coronary sinus. The anatomy of the veins of the heart is very variable, but generally it is formed by the following veins: Heart veins that go directly to the right atrium: Venous insufficiency is the most common disorder of the venous system, and is usually manifested as spider veins or varicose veins.

Several varieties of treatments are used, depending on the patient's particular type and pattern of veins and on the physician's preferences.

Increased risk

Treatment can include Endovenous Thermal Ablation using radiofrequency or laser energy, vein stripping , ambulatory phlebectomy , foam sclerotherapy , lasers , or compression. Postphlebitic syndrome is venous insufficiency that develops following deep vein thrombosis. Deep vein thrombosis is a condition in which a blood clot forms in a deep vein. This is usually the veins of the legs, although it can also occur in the veins of the arms. Immobility, active cancer, obesity, traumatic damage and congenital disorders that make clots more likely are all risk factors for deep vein thrombosis.

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It can cause the affected limb to swell, and cause pain and an overlying skin rash. In the worst case, a deep vein thrombosis can extend, or a part of a clot can break off and land in the lungs, called pulmonary embolism.