The vessels of the venous system begin with the merging of capillaries into venules, venules into small veins, and small veins into larger ones. Unlike the arterial pathways, however, those of the venous system are difficult to follow. This is because the vessels commonly connect in irregular networks, so many unnamed tributaries may join to form a relatively large vein.
On the other hand, the larger veins typically parallel the courses of named arteries, and these veins often have the same names as their counterparts in the arterial system. For example, the renal vein parallels the renal artery, and the common iliac vein accompanies the common iliac artery.
The veins that carry the blood from the lungs and myocardium back to the heart have already been described. The veins from all the other parts of the body converge into two major pathways, the superior and inferior venae cavae, which lead to the right atrium.
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This ebook provides an introductory explanation of the workings of the human body, with an effort to draw connections between the body systems and explain their interdependencies. A framework for the book is homeostasis and how the body maintains balance within each system. This is intended as a first introduction to physiology for a college-level course.