Veins and Arteries..

By now, we should know the difference between a vein and an artery, right? I hope so, because we’ve learned this in nursing school unless you’ve forgotten those trivial matters, like names of veins and arteries. This could be the case especially when you don’t often use the names of the veins and arteries in clinical practice. To an infusion nurse and anyone who inserts a venous access device, this is an important aspect in the assessment of patients prior to the insertion of any venous access device and for positive patient otucomes.

So what do we know about veins and arteries?

VEINS:  thin walled; has 3 layers (tunica intima, media, and adventitia); carries  deoxygenated blood towards the heart; does not pulsate; has valves, dark red blood; veins have larger capacity and greater ability to distend. 

ARTERIES: thick walled; has the same 3 layers as the vein (tunica intima, media and adventitia); carries oxygenated blood (except pulmonary artery) away from the heart; pulsates; no valves; bright red blood

Valves are present in veins to stop the blood from flowing backwards. The largest vein, the Supervior Vena Cava and the scalp vein are the only two veins with no valves.

There are superficial and deep veins. Superficial veins are used often but at times, deep veins are used as well for venous access. Deep veins are almost always beside an artery with the same name.  Examples: femoral vein and femoral artery; subclavian vein and subclavian artery; brachial vein and brachial artery. Note that there is right and left internal and external jugular veins but there is no artery with that name. There is a carotid artery but there is no carotid vein.

That’s it, a brief comparative review of veins and arteries. Now, take the challenge and see if you can identify the veins and arteries in these two quizzes.  You can play by clicking on the links below. Your scores and time will be posted at the end of the quiz. You do not have to create a log-in unless you want to record your high scores.


VEIN QUIZ:  click here,then when site opens, click start and identify the veins by clicking on the location

ARTERY QUIZ: click here, then when site opens, click start and identify the veins by clicking on the location

Have fun and  may the odds be ever in your favor!!

Disclosure:  Quizzes were public files on and used here only for fun and not intended as an official educational tool.

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