Dural venous sinus

Dural venous sinuses

The dural venous sinuses (also called dural sinuses, cerebral sinuses, or cranial sinuses) are venous channels found between layers of dura mater in the brain. They receive blood from internal and external veins of the brain, receive cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) from the subarachnoid space, and ultimately empty into the internal jugular vein.

Venous sinuses

Name Drains to
Inferior sagittal sinus Straight sinus
Superior sagittal sinus Confluence of sinuses
Straight sinus Confluence of sinuses
Occipital sinus Confluence of sinuses
Confluence of sinuses Transverse sinuses
Cavernous sinuses Superior and inferior petrosal sinuses
Transverse sinuses Sigmoid sinus
Superior petrosal sinus Sigmoid sinus
Inferior petrosal sinus Internal jugular vein
Sigmoid sinuses Internal 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.

Clinical relevance

The sinuses can be injured by trauma. Damage to the dura mater, which may be caused by skull fracture, may result blood clot formation (thrombosis) within the dural sinuses. While rare, dural sinus thrombosis may lead to hemorrhagic infarction with serious consequences including epilepsy, neurological deficits, or death.

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