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Other Terms: Vena axillaris, Veine axillaire
The axillary vein lies to the medial side of the axillary artery. It begins at the lower border of the teres major muscle from the union of the two humeral veins and the basilic vein. It passes upward along the lateral wall of the axilla as far as the lower border of the first rib, where it becomes the subclavian vein. The axillary vein receives the cephalic vein, the brachial vein, and branches corresponding to those of the axillary artery, with the exception of branches of the circumflex arteries, which may enter either the subscapular vein or one of the venae comites of the brachial artery or the cephalic vein. In the upper part of the axilla, the relation between the axillary vein and the axillary artery is more intimate than in the lower part. The axillary vein, as well as the artery, may be said to consist of three portions, the first and third portions corresponding to the third and first portions of the artery, respectively. The axillary vein being nearer the surface is more liable to injury than the axillary artery. On account of its size and its close proximity to the heart, a wound of the axillary vein presents the danger of air entering the circulation. On the other hand, the adherence of the costocoracoid membrane to the sheath of the vessel, and of the sheath, in turn, to the wall of the vein, prevents collapse of the vessel.