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The jugular veins are veins that bring deoxygenated blood from the head back to the heart via the superior vena cava.

Internal and external

There are two sets of jugular veins: external and internal.

Both connect to the brachiocephalic veins, the external jugular joining more laterally than the internal. The brachiocephalic veins then join the subclavian veins from both sides then join to form the superior vena cava.

There is also another, minor, jugular vein, the anterior jugular vein, draining the submaxillary region.


The jugular venous pressure (JVP) is an indirectly observed pressure over the venous system. It can be useful in the differentiation of different forms of heart and lung disease.

Classically 47upward deflections and 5 downward deflections have been described. The upward deflections correspond with (1) atrial contraction, (2) ventricular contraction (and resulting bulging of tricuspid into the right atrium during isovolumic systole), and (3) atrial venous filling. The downward deflections correspond with (1) the atrium relaxing (and the tricuspid valve moving downward) and (2) the filling of ventricle after tricuspid opens.

The Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austriamarker was killed when an assassin's bullet hit him in the jugular vein. His death played a significant role in the origins of the First World War.

See also


  1. Jugular vein definition - Medical Dictionary definitions of popular medical terms easily defined on MedTerms

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