Satoshi Furukawa, Lisa Wingenfeld, Katsuji Nishi, Akari Takaya, Ikuo Sakaguchi and Tokiko Nakagawa
The internal jugular vein is a popular route for central venous catheter placement. The internal jugular veins are also important venous vessels for returning blood from the brain. The internal jugular vein valves are the only venous valves between the heart and the brain and incompetence may result in retrograde cerebral venous flow during coughing and other precipitating activities. We investigated 60 cadavers from legal autopsies to observe the morphological variations of the internal jugular venous valve. The position of the internal jugular venous valve in situ varied among the subjects, ranging from being directly posterior to the clavicle to a position 3 cm further inferior and 2.5 cm further superior. Valves were present bilaterally in 58 (96.7%) subjects and unilaterally in 2 (3.3%) subjects. Bicuspid valves were present in 72.0% of the valves we examined. As the internal jugular vein is increasingly being used for vascular access, knowledge about and evaluation of these valves may be useful in clinical practice to avoid damage during percutaneous procedures.