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Can J Cardiol. 2009 Dec;25(12):e422-3.

Thrombus on the eustachian valve leading to recurrent pulmonary embolism: a rare problem requiring aggressive management.

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Department of Cardiology, Nizam's Institute of Medical Sciences, Hyderabad, India.


The eustachian valve is an embryological remnant of the inferior vena cava valve that is absent or inconspicuous in the adult. Even when prominent, it is considered to be a benign finding. The present report describes a patient with deep venous thrombosis who had recurrent pulmonary embolism despite thrombolysis and anticoagulation. He was found to have an adherent thrombus on the eustachian valve and his symptoms resolved completely following surgical thrombectomy. The present report highlights that the eustachian valve can, on rare occasions, harbour pathology and can adversely impact the outcomes of coexisting medical problems such as deep venous thrombosis. Infective endocarditis, pulmonary embolism and systemic embolism via a patent foramen ovale are the major complications of eustachian valve pathology. Transesophageal echocardiography appears to be superior to transthoracic echocardiography in identifying eustachian valve pathology and should be considered in all patients with thromboembolism without a known source.

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