Vena Cava

by Geoffrey Meyer, PhD

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    00:01 Now, here is a large vein, the vena cava. You know it’s a vein because look at the image on the left-hand side, it has got a large lumen, but the walls collapsed. Look at the thickness of the wall relative to the lumen. Totally different to what you see in a large artery. Now, look very carefully on the right hand side, because this is a section through the wall of the vena cava. The tunica media shown here is very thin. The tunica adventitia has smooth muscle in it running longitudinal along the length of the vena cava. That’s an unusual situation. You don’t have smooth muscle in blood vessels in the tunica adventitia. But here, you’ve got it in the vena cava.

    00:57 And the reason for that is because the vena cava are so important returning blood to the heart, to the right side of the heart. And that smooth muscle in the tunica adventitia helps the blood vessel, helps the vena cava elongate or shorten depending on the postural position of the individual because the vena cava lie up against the posterior wall of the body.

    01:30 So that’s a very important feature of the vena cava, to have the ability to elongate and shorten when we bend or change our posture. It’s a characteristic feature of the vena cava.

    About the Lecture

    The lecture Vena Cava by Geoffrey Meyer, PhD is from the course Cardiovascular Histology.

    Included Quiz Questions

    1. Smooth muscle fibers in the tunica adventitia of the inferior vena cava are arranged longitudinally.
    2. The internal elastic membrane in the superior vena cava is prominent.
    3. The inferior vena cava does not contain smooth muscle fibers.
    4. Elastic fibers are mainly present in the tunica intima of the aorta.
    5. The recoil ability of the aortic wall is increased with age.
    1. Inferior vena cava
    2. Portal vein
    3. Pulmonary vein
    4. Great saphenous vein
    5. Jugular vein

    Author of lecture Vena Cava

     Geoffrey Meyer, PhD

    Geoffrey Meyer, PhD

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