The cephalic vein is often visible through the skin, and its location in the deltopectoral groove is fairly consistent, making this site a good candidate for venous access. Permanent pacemaker leads are often placed in the cephalic vein in the deltopectoral groove. The vein may be used for intravenous access, and is sometimes referred to as the 'House-man's Friend' because a large bore cannula may be easily placed.
Ordinarily the term cephalic refers to anatomy of the head. When Persian physician Ibn Sīnā's Canon was translated into medieval Latin, cephalic was mistakenly chosen to render the Arabic term al-kífal, meaning "outer".
Cross-section through the middle of upper arm
(cephalic vein labeled at upper left)
- Swenson, Rand. "Etymology of shoulder and arm terms". Dartmouth Medical School: © O'Rahilly 2008. Retrieved 20 April 2011.