The hepatic portal vein has a number of branches. It carries blood from networks in the stomach, intestines, pancreas, and spleen to the liver. There, the vein branches out similar to an artery and the blood enters capillary-like hepatic sinusoids. After passing through the portal veins of the liver, blood is carried through a series of merging vessels into the hepatic veins. These empty into the inferior vena cava, and return the blood into circulation.