Spiral mucosal folds

Last revised by Daniel J Bell on 21 Apr 2023

The spiral mucosal folds, also known as the valves of Heister, are spirally arranged mucosal folds on the endoluminal surface of the cystic duct.

Although incompletely understood, they contain neurohormonally responsive muscle, and their unique shape is thought to support the patency of the cystic duct 1,2.

History and etymology

They were originally described as valves by German anatomist and surgeon Lorenz Heister (1683-1758 4) in 1732, who thought they controlled bile inflow and outflow 2,3. However, the term "valves" is a misnomer, as it has since been shown that they do not function this way and do not contain a sphincter 1.

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