Eustachian valve

Last revised by Henry Knipe on 28 Feb 2023

The Eustachian valve, also known as the "valve of the inferior vena cava", is a ridge of variable thickness in the inferior right atrium. It is a remnant of a fetal structure that directed incoming oxygenated blood to the foramen ovale and away from the right atrium.  

Radiographic features

Incomplete regression of this structure results in a thickened ridge at the IVC/RA junction, which can occasionally be thick enough to mimic thrombus or a right atrial mass on echocardiography, cardiac CT, or cardiac MRI.

Clinical importance

A thickened eustachian valve may also interfere with placement of an atrial septal defect or patent foramen ovale closure device.

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Cases and figures

  • Case 1: echocardiography
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  • Case 2: bullet emboli trapped in eustachian valve
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