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Informed Health Online [Internet]. Cologne, Germany: Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG); 2006-.

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The lymphatic system

Created: ; Last Update: January 7, 2015; Next update: 2018.

The lymph or lymphatic system is an important part of our body's system to protect us from infection.

Lymph travels around the body through a network of vessels in much the same way that blood travels around the body through the blood vessels. Whereas the blood carries nutrients and other substances into our tissues, the lymph vessels drain fluid from the tissues and transport it to the lymph nodes.

Lymph nodes are small gland-like masses of tissue which filter out and destroy bacteria and other harmful substances. The bigger lymph vessels then carry the cleaned fluid back to the vein called the superior vena cava, where it enters the blood stream.

Illustration: The lymphatic system

Sources

  • Menche N. (ed.) Biologie Anatomie Physiologie. Munich: Urban & Fischer/ Elsevier; 2012.
  • Pschyrembel W. Klinisches Wörterbuch. Berlin: De Gruyter; 2014.
  • Schmidt R, Lang F, Heckmann M. Physiologie des Menschen: mit Pathophysiologie. Heidelberg: Springer; 2011.
  • IQWiG health information is written with the aim of helping people understand the advantages and disadvantages of the main treatment options and health care services.

    Because IQWiG is a German institute, some of the information provided here is specific to the German health care system. The suitability of any of the described options in an individual case can be determined by talking to a doctor. We do not offer individual consultations.

    Our information is based on the results of good-quality studies. It is written by a team of health care professionals, scientists and editors, and reviewed by external experts. You can find a detailed description of how our health information is produced and updated in our methods.

© IQWiG (Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care)
Bookshelf ID: NBK279391

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