External jugular vein

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Neck veins, anatomical position on the hyperextended neck: Right internal jugular vein , left external jugular vein

The external jugular vein ("external jugular vein") is a vein in the neck area. It runs superficially, directly under the skin, in animals in the so-called throttle groove ( sulcus jugularis ) between the musculus sternocephalicus and musculus brachiocephalicus . The jugular vein collects most of the blood from the head area. It joins the venous angle with the internal jugular vein and subclavian vein .

The jugular vein is easily visible under the skin and can easily be dammed up with a finger. In humans, it runs across the sternocleidomastoid muscle (head nicker muscle ) from the top inside diagonally to the bottom outside. Depending on the position of the body, the filling level of the vessel is very variable. When lying down or in the head-down position, the vessel is well filled. When sitting, the vessel is practically empty. If the vessel is also full while sitting, it is called a jugular vein congestion . This can be caused by a local outflow disturbance of the vessel, but mostly by a venous congestion in front of the right heart ( right heart failure ).

The jugular veins can be clearly visualized using computed tomography (CT) and nuclear spin (NMR). In principle, the neck veins can also be visualized in the X-ray using a contrast agent. Since the vessel would have to be punctured high up and the ultrasound is much easier to perform, venography of the neck veins is unusual. The neck veins are shown indirectly on late carotid angiography .

The previously common recording of the jugular vein pulse is largely obsolete and is practically no longer performed today. It was used, for example, to detect systolic backflow into the jugular veins in tricuspid regurgitation . This can now be recognized much faster and more directly using echocardiography .

The external jugular vein is significantly larger than the internal jugular vein in animals . The jugular vein is used in many animal species for intravenous injection and blood collection . Indwelling catheters are also placed in this vein, whereas in humans the internal jugular vein is usually used for this.

The occlusion of the external jugular vein by blood clots is known as jugular vein thrombosis .