Valves in superficial limb veins of humans and nonhuman primates

Authors

  • Rajani Thiranagama,

    1. Department of Anatomy, Faculty of Medicine, University of Jaffna, Kokuvil, Jaffna, Sri Lanka
    Search for more papers by this author
  • A. T. Chamberlain,

    1. Department of Human Anatomy and Cell Biology, the University of Liverpool, Liverpool, England
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Professor B. A. Wood

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Human Anatomy and Cell Biology, the University of Liverpool, Liverpool, England
    • Department of Human Anatomy and Cell Biology, The University of Liverpool, P.O. Box 147, Liverpool L69 3BX, England
    Search for more papers by this author

Abstract

The venous valves are believed to play an important role in venous function, but their number, position, and spacing in limb veins are reported to be irregular. In this study, the relationship between the number of valves and the length of veins in which they occur was investigated for humans and nonhuman primates. In addition, valve distributions within the superficial veins of the human upper limb were compared with those of the lower limb. Upper and lower limb veins were dissected from adult humans, and forelimb veins were obtained from seven genera of primates. The mean valve index (number of valves per unit length of vein) of the forelimb lateral superficial vein exhibited relatively little variation between humans and primates of a wide range of body sizes and locomotor repertoires. The mean valve index for the lateral superficial vein of the human upper limb is similar to that of the short saphenous vein of the lower limb, and in both veins, the maximum valve index occurs in the most proximal portion of the vein. The relative constancy of the valve index across a range of primate species, and between the upper and lower limbs of humans, may reflect the known constancy of circulatory pressures in mammals. The minimum numbers of valves in superficial veins are only slightly greater than required to limit capillary pressure to below 10 mm Hg, above which pressure the tissue fluid flow would be compromised.

Ancillary