The ulnar vein is part of the deep venous system of the upper extremity and is located in the forearm. It is a paired vein and is considered as vena comitans for the ulnar artery. Vena comitans is a Latin term which means accompanying vein (plural form is venae comitantes). Venae comitantes are usually adjacent to the arteries and form a complementary relationship with each other in such a way that arterial pulsations assist in venous return. Other examples of venae comitantes and their arteries include brachial artery and brachial veins as well as radial artery and radial veins.
The ulnar veins follow the course of the ulnar artery in the forearm. They mostly drain deoxygenated blood in the medial aspect of the forearm. They collect from branches of deep palmar venous arches and, at the wrist, connect with the superficial veins. Further up, the ulnar veins receive additional tributaries from the anterior and posterior interosseus veins and form a network with the median cubital vein. Near the elbow, they join the radial veins to form the brachial veins.
Deep vein thrombosis of the upper extremity of the primary and spontaneous type is rare. This syndrome is defined as thrombosis of upper extremity deep veins caused by anatomical deformity of the thoracic outlet. It is characterized by sudden, severe pain in the upper extremity and typically occurs in young individuals. Management usually is aggressive that includes decompression of the thoracic outlet to relieve acute symptoms and decrease complications.
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