: any of a system of three veins which drain the thoracic wall and much of the abdominal wall and which form a collateral circulation when either the inferior or superior vena cava is obstructed; especially : a vein that receives blood from the right half of the thoracic and abdominal walls, ascends along the right side of the spinal column, and empties into the superior vena cava — compare accessory hemiazygos vein, hemiazygos vein : a vein that drains the upper left side of the thoracic wall, descends along the left side of the spinal column, and empties into the azygos or hemiazygos veins near the middle of the thorax
: a vein that receives blood from the lower half of the left thoracic wall and the left abdominal wall, ascends along the left side of the spinal column, and empties into the azygos vein near the middle of the thorax
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