Venous valves within left ventricular coronary veins



The purpose of this study was to quantify and characterize venous valves within the major left ventricular (LV) veins of human hearts.


Fiberscope cameras were inserted into the coronary sinus and were manipulated to major LV coronary veins of perfusion fixed human hearts (n = 26). Observed venous valves were categorized by type and location and compared among the major LV veins.


Discernible venous valves were present in 23 of 26 examined hearts (89%); altogether, 105 valves were identified. Sixty-one of the valves were observed at the ostia to smaller branch veins (58% of all valves observed).


Coronary venous valves could hinder or aid in the advancement of guide wires, catheters, and/or the placement of leads for a variety of cardiac interventional procedures. The characterization and quantification of venous valves could explain the difficulty or success in accessing targeted coronary venous locations.

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The authors would like to sincerely thank LifeSource and the University of Minnesota Anatomy Bequest Program for their assistance with this study and the generous individuals and families who, by donating their hearts for research, made this study possible. We would also like to thank Gary Williams for his assistance with the figures and video compilation and Monica Mahre for her assistance with the preparation of this manuscript. This work was supported in part by the Institute for Engineering in Medicine at the University of Minnesota and by Medtronic.

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Correspondence to Paul A. Iaizzo.

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The video is organized by vein: anterior interventricular veins, great cardiac veins, posterior veins of the left ventricle, and posterior interventricular veins. At the beginning of each vein, a figure shows its anatomical location. Still images with each representative valve color highlighted aid visualization in subsequent video footage (MPG 19.00 MB)


The video is organized by vein: anterior interventricular veins, great cardiac veins, posterior veins of the left ventricle, and posterior interventricular veins. At the beginning of each vein, a figure shows its anatomical location. Still images with each representative valve color highlighted aid visualization in subsequent video footage (MPG 19.00 MB)

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Anderson, S.E., Quill, J.L. & Iaizzo, P.A. Venous valves within left ventricular coronary veins. J Interv Card Electrophysiol 23, 95–99 (2008).

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  • Coronary veins
  • Left ventricle
  • Valves