The hemiazygos vein (vena azygos minor inferior) is a vein running superiorly in the lower thoracic region, just to the left side of the vertebral column.
The hemiazygos vein and the accessory hemiazygos vein, when taken together, essentially serve as the left-sided equivalent of the azygos vein. That is, the azygos vein serves to drain most of the posterior intercostal veins on the right side of the body, and the hemiazygos vein and the accessory hemiazygos vein drain most of the posterior intercostal veins on the left side of the body. Specifically, the hemiazygos vein mirrors the bottom part of the azygos vein.
The structure of the hemiazygos vein is often variable. It usually begins in the left ascending lumbar vein or renal vein, and passes upward through the left crus of the diaphragm to enter the thorax. It continues ascending on the left side of the vertebral column, and around the level of the ninth thoracic vertebra, it passes rightward across the column, behind the aorta, esophagus, and thoracic duct, to end in the azygos vein.
The hemiazygos may or may not be continuous superiorly with the accessory hemiazygos vein.
The name for this vein is derived from that of the azygos vein. Azygos means 'unpaired', and hemi means half. This vein mirrors the bottom half the azygos vein.
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- Template:SUNYAnatomyLabs - "Mediastinum: The Azygos Vein and Posterior Intercostal Veins"