Definition: series of veins draining the submucous venous plexus of the esophagus; proceeding inferiorly from the cervical portion of the esophagus, they drain to the inferior thyroid vein, the superior intercostal veins, and the azygos, accessory hemiazygos, and hemiazygos veins, all of which are ultimately tributaries of the superior vena cava; the most inferior esophageal veins, from the cardiac portion of the esophagus, drain from the esophageal branches of the left gastric vein, a tributary of the portal vein. Thus, the submucosal veins of the inferior esophagus form a portocaval anastomoses, and are subject to the formation of varicosities in portal hypertension.
Synonym(s): venae esophageaeTA
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