The right lymphatic duct collects lymph from the upper right side of the body and returns it to the right subclavian vein, according to Springfield Technical Community College. Lymph is excess fluid in the tissues that must be removed to prevent edema.
Capillaries in the circulatory system allow fluid, nutrients and hormones to leak through to nourish tissues in the body, according to Springfield Technical Community College. When this happens, excess fluids not utilized or absorbed by the cells in the body collect to form lymph.
Lymphatic capillaries in the tissue collect the lymph and transport it through the lymphatic vessels to lymph nodes, states Springfield Technical Community College. According to Georgia Highlands College, lymph nodes filter the lymphatic fluid and activate the immune system if signs of infection are found. Lymph is then delivered to the right lymphatic or thoracic duct and returned to the blood stream.
According to Des Moines Area Community College, the right lymphatic duct only collects lymph from the right side of the head, neck and upper torso, and the right arm. This accounts for approximately one-quarter of the lymph in the body. The thoracic duct collects the lymph from the rest of the body and returns it to the blood stream through the left subclavian vein, states Springfield Technical Community College.