Dural venous sinuses

The dural venous sinuses (also called dural sinuses, cerebral sinuses, or cranial sinuses) are venous channels found between the endosteal and meningeal layers of dura mater in the brain.[1][2] They receive blood from the cerebral veins, receive cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) from the subarachnoid space via arachnoid granulations, and mainly empty into the internal jugular vein.[2]

Dural venous sinuses
Illustration of the dural venous sinuses
Dural venous sinuses
LatinSinus durae matris
Anatomical terminology

Venous sinuses

NameDrains to
Sphenoparietal sinuses Cavernous sinuses
Cavernous sinusesSuperior and inferior petrosal sinuses
Superior sagittal sinus Typically becomes right transverse sinus or confluence of sinuses
Inferior sagittal sinus Straight sinus
Straight sinusTypically becomes left transverse sinus or confluence of sinuses
Occipital sinus Confluence of sinuses
Confluence of sinusesRight and Left transverse sinuses
Superior petrosal sinus Transverse sinuses
Transverse sinusesSigmoid sinus
Inferior petrosal sinusInternal jugular vein
Sigmoid sinusesInternal jugular vein


The walls of the dural venous sinuses are composed of dura mater lined with endothelium, a specialized layer of flattened cells found in blood vessels. They differ from other blood vessels in that they lack a full set of vessel layers (e.g. tunica media) characteristic of arteries and veins. It also lacks valves (in veins; with exception of materno-fetal blood circulation i.e. placental artery and pulmonary arteries both of which carry deoxygenated blood).

Clinical relevance

The sinuses can be injured by trauma in which damage to the dura mater, may result in blood clot formation (thrombosis) within the dural sinuses. Other common causes of dural sinus thrombosis include tracking of infection through the ophthalmic vein in orbital cellulitis. While rare, dural sinus thrombosis may lead to hemorrhagic infarction or cerebral oedema with serious consequences including epilepsy, neurological deficits, or death.[3]

Additional images


  1. Kiernan, John A. (2005). Barr's The Human Nervous System: An Anatomical Viewpoint. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. pp. 428–230. ISBN 0-7817-5154-3. Archived from the original on 2011-05-14. Retrieved 2006-01-27.
  2. Gaillard, Frank. "Dural venous sinuses | Radiology Reference Article | Radiopaedia.org". Radiopaedia.
  3. de Bruijn SF, Stam J (1999). "Randomized, placebo-controlled trial of anticoagulant treatment with low-molecular-weight heparin for cerebral sinus thrombosis". Stroke. 30 (3): 484–8. doi:10.1161/01.str.30.3.484. PMID 10066840.
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