Difference Between Jugular Vein and Carotid Artery

Main Difference – Jugular Vein vs Carotid Artery

Jugular vein and carotid artery are the two types of blood vessels found in the neck. They are involved in the circulation of blood in the head and face. The main difference between jugular vein and carotid artery is that jugular vein drains deoxygenated blood from the head and face whereas carotid artery supplies oxygenated blood to the head and face. Both jugular vein and carotid artery are located on each side of the trachea. Four jugular veins can be identified in humans: right internal jugular vein, left internal jugular vein, right external jugular vein, and left external jugular vein. Two common carotid arteries can also be identified in humans: right common carotid artery and left common carotid artery.

Key Areas Covered

1. What is Jugular Vein
      – Definition, Branches, Role
2. What is Carotid Artery
      – Definition, Branches, Role
3. What are the Similarities Between Jugular Vein and Carotid Artery
      – Outline of Common Features
4. What is the Difference Between Jugular Vein and Carotid Artery
      – Comparison of Key Differences

Key Terms: Baroreception, Brain, Carotid artery, Carotid Sinus, Deoxygenated Blood, Face, Jugular Vein, Neck, Oxygenated Blood, Subclavian Veins

Difference Between Jugular Vein and Carotid Artery - Comparison Summary

What is Jugular Vein

Jugular vein refers to any of several large veins in the neck which receives deoxygenated blood from the head and face. Superior vena cava drains blood from the jugular vein. Two jugular veins are found on each side of the trachea. Therefore, they are called the left jugular vein and the right jugular vein. Each jugular vein divides into two main veins: internal jugular vein and external jugular vein. Eventually, four jugular veins can be identified in the neck; two jugular veins in the left side (left internal jugular vein and left external jugular vein) and two jugular veins in the right side (right internal jugular vein and right external jugular vein). External jugular veins receive blood from the neck, deep tissue of the face, and the outside of the cranium. This blood drains into the subclavian veins and is ultimately drained into the right atrium of the heart through superior vena cava.

Main Difference - Jugular Vein vs Carotid Artery

Figure 1: External and Internal Jugular Veins

The external jugular vein divides into two as posterior external jugular vein and anterior external jugular vein. The posterior external jugular vein receives blood from the back of the neck while the anterior jugular vein receives blood from the tissues below the lower jaw and the larynx. The internal jugular veins receive blood from the brain, face, and the neck. They drain blood to the subclavian veins, forming the brachiocephalic veins. 

What is Carotid Artery

Carotid artery refers to one of the two large arteries in the neck, which supplies oxygenated blood to the brain, neck, and face. The main carotid artery is called the common carotid artery, which divides into two arteries: internal carotid artery and external carotid artery. The internal carotid artery supplies blood to the brain while the external carotid artery supplies blood to the face and the neck. The common internal and external carotid arteries are shown in figure 2.

Difference Between Jugular Vein and Carotid Artery

Figure 2: Carotid Artery

The carotid sinus or the carotid bulb is a widening of the carotid artery at the branching point of the internal and external carotid arteries. It is sensitive to the blood pressure changes at this level. Carotid sinus is the major point of baroreception in humans as well as mammals, helping in the regulation of blood pressure coincident to the external conditions.

Similarities Between Jugular Vein and Carotid Artery

  • Both jugular vein and carotid artery are located in the neck region of animals.
  • Both jugular vein and carotid artery supply blood to the head and the face.
  • Both jugular vein and carotid artery contain internal and external branches.

Difference Between Jugular Vein and Carotid Artery

Definition

Jugular Vein: Jugular vein refers to any of the several large veins in the neck, which drains deoxygenated blood from the head and face.

Carotid Artery: Carotid artery refers to one of the two large arteries in the neck, which supplies blood to the brain, neck, and face.

Blood Supply

Jugular Vein: Jugular vein drains deoxygenated blood from the head and face.

Carotid Artery: Carotid artery supplies oxygenated blood to the head and face.

Branches

Jugular Vein: Four jugular veins can be identified in humans: right internal jugular vein, left internal jugular vein, right external jugular vein, and left external jugular vein.

Carotid Artery: Two common carotid arteries can also be identified in humans: right common carotid artery and left common carotid artery.

Wave Form

Jugular Vein: Jugular vein produces two peaks per heartbeat.

Carotid Artery: Carotid artery produces a single peak per heartbeat.

Pulsations

Jugular Vein: Jugular venous pulsations are impalpable.

Carotid Artery: Carotid artery pulsations are palpable.

Diminishment of Pulsations

Jugular Vein: Jugular venous pulsations are diminished by the pressure at the root of the neck.

Carotid Artery: Carotid artery pulsations are not diminished.

With Respiration

Jugular Vein: Jugular venous pulsations decreases with respiration.

Carotid Artery: Carotid artery pulsations are independent of respiration.

Position in the Neck

Jugular Vein: The position of the jugular vein varies with the individual.

Carotid Artery: The position of the carotid artery does not vary with the individual.

Effect of the Abdominal Pressure

Jugular Vein: Jugular venous pulsations rise with abdominal pressure.

Carotid Artery: Carotid artery pulsations are independent of abdominal pressure.

Conclusion

Jugular vein and carotid artery are the two types of blood vessels found in the neck. Four jugular veins and two carotid arteries can be identified in the neck. Jugular vein drain deoxygenated blood from the brain, face, and neck while carotid arteries supply oxygenated blood to the brain, face, and neck. Thus, the main difference between jugular vein and carotid artery is the type of blood carried by them.

Reference:

1.“ Jugular vein.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, inc., 21 July 2017, Available here.
2.“Picture of the Carotid Artery.” WebMD, Available here.

Image Courtesy:

1. “2133 Head and Neck Veins” By OpenStax College – Anatomy & Physiology, Connexions Web site,  Jun 19, 2013 (CC BY 3.0) via Commons Wikimedia
2. “Blausen 0170 CarotidArteries By “Medical gallery of Blausen Medical 2014″. WikiJournal of Medicine 1 (2). DOI:10.15347/wjm/2014.010. ISSN 2002-4436. – Own work (CC BY 3.0) via Commons Wikimedia

About the Author: Lakna

Lakna, a graduate in Molecular Biology & Biochemistry, is a Molecular Biologist and has a broad and keen interest in the discovery of nature related things

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