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Definition of Portal vein

Portal vein: A large vein formed by the union of the splenic and superior mesenteric veins. The portal vein conveys venous blood to the liver for detoxification before the blood is returned to circulation via the hepatic veins.

Source: MedTerms™ Medical Dictionary
http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=5004
Last Editorial Review: 3/19/2012

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