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Any of several large veins of the neck that drain blood from the head.
jugular vein (picture)A nonspecific term that corresponds to veins in the lateral and anterior neck:
(1) Anterior jugular vein; vena jugularis anterior [NA6].
(2) External jugular vein; vena jugularis externa [NA6].
(3) Internal jugular vein; vena jugularis interna [NA6].
Any of the two pairs of bilateral veins that return blood to the heart from the head and neck. The external jugular vein receives the blood from the exterior of the cranium and the deep parts of the face. It lies superficial to the sternocleidomastoid muscle as it passes down the neck to join the subclavian vein. The internal jugular vein receives blood from the brain and superficial parts of the face and neck. It is directly continuous with the transverse sinus, accompanying the internal carotid artery as it passes down the neck, and joins with the subclavian vein to form the innominate vein. The jugular veins are more prominent during expiration than during inspiration and are also prominent during cardiac decompensation.
When the patient is sitting or in a semirecumbent position, the height of the jugular veins and their pulsations can provide an accurate estimation of central venous pressure and give important information about cardiac compensation.
See also: jugular
The internal or the external jugular vein.
See also: vein