Skip to main content

Unfortunately we don't fully support your browser. If you have the option to, please upgrade to a newer version or use Mozilla Firefox, Microsoft Edge, Google Chrome, or Safari 14 or newer. If you are unable to, and need support, please send us your feedback.

Publish with us
Left Superior Intercostal Vein
Cardiovascular System

Left Superior Intercostal Vein

Vena intercostalis superior sinistra

Read more

Quick Facts

Origin: Union of the second and third left posterior intercostal veins.

Course: Anteriorly, towards the left brachiocephalic vein.

Tributaries: None.

Drainage: Intercostal space, back, and skin.

Complete Anatomy
The world's most advanced 3D anatomy platform
Try it for Free


The left superior intercostal vein is formed by the union of the second and third, and sometimes the fourth, posterior intercostal veins on the left-hand side.


From its origin, the left superior intercostal vein travels anteriorly, crossing the arch of aorta. It is lateral to the left vagus nerve and medial to the left phrenic nerve. It joins the posterior aspect of the left brachiocephalic vein.


The left superior intercostal vein may receive the bronchial and left pericardiacophrenic veins. In some instances, it may connect with the accessory hemiazygos vein inferiorly.

Structures Drained

Since the left superior intercostal vein receives the second and third posterior intercostal veins, it indirectly drains the muscles of the intercostal space, muscle of the back, vertebral column, and overlying skin.

List of Clinical Correlates

- X-ray “aortic nipple”

Learn more about this topic from other Elsevier products

Intercostal Veins

ScienceDirect image

The intercostal musculature contains the intercostal nerve, artery, and vein as they pass between the internal intercostal membrane and the pleura and between the internal and innermost intercostal muscles.

Explore on ScienceDirect(opens in new tab/window)

Complete Anatomy

The world's most advanced 3D anatomy platform

Complete Anatomy