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Fossa Ovalis of Right Atrium
Cardiovascular System

Fossa Ovalis of Right Atrium

Fossa ovalis atrii dextri

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The fossa ovalis is a shallow depression on the interatrial septum. It's surrounded by a prominent rim called the limbus fossae ovalis.

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Key Featrues/Anatomical Structures

The fossa ovalis sits superiorly and to the left of the opening of the inferior vena cava. In cardiac cadaveric dissection, the fossa ovalis is easily located if you pass a probe through the opening of the inferior vena cava, towards the interatrial septum.


In fetal development this represents the foramen ovale which shunts blood away from the pulmonary circulation to bypass the immature fetal lungs.

The foramen closes postnatally once the lungs become functional. The fossa ovalis may remain patent in 15–25% of adults (Moore et al., 2013). A patent foramen ovale is most distinct in the upper margin of the fossa.

List of Clinical Correlates

- Atrial septal defects

- Patent foramen ovale


Moore, K. L., Dalley, A. F. and Agur, A. M. R. (2013) Clinically Oriented Anatomy. Clinically Oriented Anatomy 7th edn.: Wolters Kluwer Health/Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

Learn more about this topic from other Elsevier products

Right Atrium

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The right atrium is defined by acceptance of the IVC blood return, and the right atrial appendage has a broad base and extends anteriorly in a horizontal orientation.

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