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Eur Radiol. 1999;9(6):1222-6.

High-resolution ultrasound evaluation of internal jugular venous valves.

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  • 1Department of Diagnostic and Interventional Radiology, University Hospital Center, CH-1011 Lausanne, Switzerland.


Although the presence of valves in the distal portion of the internal jugular veins has been widely described by anatomists and pathologists, their existence remains underscored in the medical literature. We set out to demonstrate their sonographic aspect and to evaluate their morphology, location and prevalence. Seventy-five cadavers were evaluated for the presence and aspect of such valves through neck dissections. Concurrent evaluation of the sonographic character of these structures was performed in another cohort of 75 adults. Valves of the distal portion of the internal jugular veins were found in 93 % of the cadaveric studies. Ultrasonography easily demonstrated the valve leaflets in 87 % of patients; all were observed in the distal portion of the internal jugular (IJ) veins. Sixty percent were bilateral with the majority of unilateral veins found on the right side. High-resolution ultrasonography easily demonstrates valves in the distal portion of the IJ veins which are present in the great majority of persons. Their evaluation may be of use in percutaneous procedures using this venous access.

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