Persistent Eustachian valve (echocardiography)

Case contributed by Karen Machang'a
Diagnosis certain


Cellulitis of the right lower limb

Patient Data

Age: 30 years
Gender: Male

A mobile, elongated, curvilinear echogenic structure is seen arising from the anterior rim of the inferior vena cava protruding into the right atrial cavity . No atrial septal defect.

No tricuspid regurgitation. Normal cardiac chambers and function. Normal size IVC.

Case Discussion

The Eustachian valve is an embryonic remnant of the inferior vena cava (IVC). During fetal life, it helps diverts oxygenated blood from the IVC towards the foramen ovale to escape pulmonary circulation.

The remnant usually regresses after birth and upon closure of the foramen ovale the valve has no particular function after birth.

Persistent Eustachian valves are usually a benign finding, but complications may arise that necessitate surgery, and in rare cases can be fatal.

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