Major Blood Vessels of the Heart
Coronary Veins | Cardiac Veins
Introduction to the Coronary Veins:
After flowing through the myocardium, most (80%) of the oxygen-depleted blood is returned to the right atrium by several prominent veins that run along the surface of the heart (= epicardial veins).
- Draining blood from the anterior ventricles is the great cardiac vein.
- This vessel originates at the apex of the heart and runs superiorly along the anterior interventricular sulcus (next to the anterior interventricular artery).
- Near the left atrium, the great cardiac vein veers to the left and enters the coronary sulcus (= between the left atrium and ventricle), where it extends to the back side of the heart.
- One or more left marginal veins typically merge with the great cardiac vein as it traverses the lateral ventricular wall.
- Small anterior cardiac veins also drain blood from the anterior right ventricle directly into the right atrium.
- Blood is removed from the lateral and posterior right ventricle (and atrium) by the small cardiac vein, which travels to the posterior surface of the heart in the coronary sulcus (= between the right atrium and ventricle).
- Along its path, the small cardiac vein receives blood from one or more right marginal veins.
- On the posterior side of the heart, the great and small cardiac veins merge with the coronary sinus, which empties into the right atrium.
Learn the arteries of the cardiovascular system with these interactive quizzes and labelling exercises.
- The coronary sinuses also receives blood from the middle cardiac vein that ascends along the posterior interventricular groove and the posterior vein of the left ventricle.
- About 20% of the deoxygenated blood flows directly into the heart cavities from numerous Thebesian veins (= venae cordis minimae) in the myocardium, especially in the left atrium.
- These small cardiac veins are named after Adam Christian Thebesius, a prominent German anatomist who studied heart circulation in the early 1700’s.