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Other Terms: Hemiazygous vein, Hemi-azygos vein, Inferior hemi-azygos vein, Vena hemiazygos, Veine hémi-azygos
The hemiazygos vein begins at the left ascending lumbar vein in the abdomen and ends by emptying into the azygos vein. This establishes communication between the iliac or renal vein below and, through the azygos vein, the superior vena cava above. It enters the thorax behind or through the left crus, and in its course upward in the posterior mediastinum, lies to the left of the body of the seventh or eighth thoracic vertebra. It passes anterior to the lower intercostal arteries. It may cross at various levels behind the esophagus, thoracic duct, and aorta, but usually at the eighth dorsal vertebra, to empty into the azygos vein. It may communicate with the lower end of the accessory hemiazygos vein when that vessel is present. It is covered by pleura. The left subcostal vein, the lower three or four intercostal veins, the lower end of the accessory hemiazygos vein occasionally, small mediastinal veins, and the lower left esophageal veins empty into it.