open access

Vol 67, No 1 (2008)
ORIGINAL ARTICLES
Published online: 2007-12-03
Submitted: 2012-02-06
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The clinical anatomy of the cephalic vein in the deltopectoral triangle

M. Loukas, C.S. Myers, Ch.T. Wartmann, R.S. Tubbs, T. Judge, B. Curry, R. Jordan
Folia Morphol 2008;67(1):72-77.

open access

Vol 67, No 1 (2008)
ORIGINAL ARTICLES
Published online: 2007-12-03
Submitted: 2012-02-06

Abstract

Identification and recognition of the cephalic vein in the deltopectoral triangle is of critical importance when considering emergency catheterization procedures. The aim of our study was to conduct a cadaveric study to access data regarding the topography and the distribution patterns of the cephalic vein as it relates to the deltopectoral triangle. One hundred formalin fixed cadavers were examined. The cephalic vein was found in 95% (190 right and left) specimens, while in the remaining 5% (10) the cephalic vein was absent. In 80% (152) of cases the cephalic vein was found emerging superficially in the lateral portion of the deltopectoral triangle. In 30% (52) of these 152 cases the cephalic vein received one tributary within the deltopectoral triangle, while in 70% (100) of the specimens it received two. In the remaining 20% (38) of cases the cephalic vein was located deep to the deltopectoral fascia and fat and did not emerge through the deltopectoral triangle but was identified medially to the coracobrachialis and inferior to the medial border of the deltoid. In addition, in 4 (0.2%) of the specimens the cephalic vein, after crossing the deltopectoral triangle, ascended anterior and superior to the clavicle to drain into the subclavian vein. In these specimens a collateral branch was observed to communicate between the cephalic and external jugular veins. In 65.2% (124) of the cases the cephalic vein traveled with the deltoid branch of the thoracoacromial trunk. The length of the cephalic vein within the deltopectoral triangle ranged from 3.5 cm to 8.2 cm with a mean of 4.8 ± 0.7 cm. The morphometric analysis revealed a mean cephalic vein diameter of 0.8 ± 0.1 cm with a range of 0.1 cm to 1.2 cm. The cephalic vein is relatively large and constant, usually allowing for easy cannulation.
(Folia Morphol 2008; 67: 72-77)

Abstract

Identification and recognition of the cephalic vein in the deltopectoral triangle is of critical importance when considering emergency catheterization procedures. The aim of our study was to conduct a cadaveric study to access data regarding the topography and the distribution patterns of the cephalic vein as it relates to the deltopectoral triangle. One hundred formalin fixed cadavers were examined. The cephalic vein was found in 95% (190 right and left) specimens, while in the remaining 5% (10) the cephalic vein was absent. In 80% (152) of cases the cephalic vein was found emerging superficially in the lateral portion of the deltopectoral triangle. In 30% (52) of these 152 cases the cephalic vein received one tributary within the deltopectoral triangle, while in 70% (100) of the specimens it received two. In the remaining 20% (38) of cases the cephalic vein was located deep to the deltopectoral fascia and fat and did not emerge through the deltopectoral triangle but was identified medially to the coracobrachialis and inferior to the medial border of the deltoid. In addition, in 4 (0.2%) of the specimens the cephalic vein, after crossing the deltopectoral triangle, ascended anterior and superior to the clavicle to drain into the subclavian vein. In these specimens a collateral branch was observed to communicate between the cephalic and external jugular veins. In 65.2% (124) of the cases the cephalic vein traveled with the deltoid branch of the thoracoacromial trunk. The length of the cephalic vein within the deltopectoral triangle ranged from 3.5 cm to 8.2 cm with a mean of 4.8 ± 0.7 cm. The morphometric analysis revealed a mean cephalic vein diameter of 0.8 ± 0.1 cm with a range of 0.1 cm to 1.2 cm. The cephalic vein is relatively large and constant, usually allowing for easy cannulation.
(Folia Morphol 2008; 67: 72-77)
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Keywords

cephalic vein; subclavian vein; axillary vein; deltopectoral triangle

About this article
Title

The clinical anatomy of the cephalic vein in the deltopectoral triangle

Journal

Folia Morphologica

Issue

Vol 67, No 1 (2008)

Pages

72-77

Published online

2007-12-03

Bibliographic record

Folia Morphol 2008;67(1):72-77.

Keywords

cephalic vein
subclavian vein
axillary vein
deltopectoral triangle

Authors

M. Loukas
C.S. Myers
Ch.T. Wartmann
R.S. Tubbs
T. Judge
B. Curry
R. Jordan

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