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Mediastinum and Great Vessels: Anatomy

The mediastinum is the thoracic area between the 2 pleural cavities. The mediastinum contains vital structures of the circulatory, respiratory, digestive, and nervous systems including the heart and esophagus Esophagus The esophagus is a muscular tube-shaped organ of around 25 centimeters in length that connects the pharynx to the stomach. The organ extends from approximately the 6th cervical vertebra to the 11th thoracic vertebra and can be divided grossly into 3 parts: the cervical part, the thoracic part, and the abdominal part. Esophagus: Anatomy, and major thoracic vessels including the superior vena cava, inferior vena cava, pulmonary arteries Arteries Arteries are tubular collections of cells that transport oxygenated blood and nutrients from the heart to the tissues of the body. The blood passes through the arteries in order of decreasing luminal diameter, starting in the largest artery (the aorta) and ending in the small arterioles. Arteries are classified into 3 types: large elastic arteries, medium muscular arteries, and small arteries and arterioles. Arteries: Histology, pulmonary veins Pulmonary veins The veins that return the oxygenated blood from the lungs to the left atrium of the heart. Lungs: Anatomy, and aorta. The mediastinum extends from the upper thoracic aperture to the diaphragm Diaphragm The diaphragm is a large, dome-shaped muscle that separates the thoracic cavity from the abdominal cavity. The diaphragm consists of muscle fibers and a large central tendon, which is divided into right and left parts. As the primary muscle of inspiration, the diaphragm contributes 75% of the total inspiratory muscle force. Diaphragm: Anatomy and is bordered by the lungs Lungs Lungs are the main organs of the respiratory system. Lungs are paired viscera located in the thoracic cavity and are composed of spongy tissue. The primary function of the lungs is to oxygenate blood and eliminate CO2. Lungs: Anatomy.

Last updated: 12 Apr, 2022

Editorial responsibility: Stanley Oiseth, Lindsay Jones, Evelin Maza

Mediastinum

Overview

The mediastinum is the middle of the thoracic cavity, located between the lungs Lungs Lungs are the main organs of the respiratory system. Lungs are paired viscera located in the thoracic cavity and are composed of spongy tissue. The primary function of the lungs is to oxygenate blood and eliminate CO2. Lungs: Anatomy. The mediastinum is subdivided into the superior and inferior compartments, which are further divided into the anterior, middle, and posterior mediastina.

Mediastinal compartments

Mediastinal compartments

Image by Lecturio.

Superior mediastinum

  • Borders:
    • Superior:
      • Jugular notch anteriorly
      • Thoracic (T) 1 vertebra posteriorly
    • Inferior:
      • Sternal angle Sternal angle Chest Wall: Anatomy anteriorly
      • Inferior border of T4 T4 The major hormone derived from the thyroid gland. Thyroxine is synthesized via the iodination of tyrosines (monoiodotyrosine) and the coupling of iodotyrosines (diiodotyrosine) in the thyroglobulin. Thyroxine is released from thyroglobulin by proteolysis and secreted into the blood. Thyroxine is peripherally deiodinated to form triiodothyronine which exerts a broad spectrum of stimulatory effects on cell metabolism. Thyroid Hormones (thoracic plane) posteriorly
  • Contents:
    • Trachea Trachea The trachea is a tubular structure that forms part of the lower respiratory tract. The trachea is continuous superiorly with the larynx and inferiorly becomes the bronchial tree within the lungs. The trachea consists of a support frame of semicircular, or C-shaped, rings made out of hyaline cartilage and reinforced by collagenous connective tissue. Trachea: Anatomy
    • Esophagus Esophagus The esophagus is a muscular tube-shaped organ of around 25 centimeters in length that connects the pharynx to the stomach. The organ extends from approximately the 6th cervical vertebra to the 11th thoracic vertebra and can be divided grossly into 3 parts: the cervical part, the thoracic part, and the abdominal part. Esophagus: Anatomy
    • Thymus Thymus A single, unpaired primary lymphoid organ situated in the mediastinum, extending superiorly into the neck to the lower edge of the thyroid gland and inferiorly to the fourth costal cartilage. It is necessary for normal development of immunologic function early in life. By puberty, it begins to involute and much of the tissue is replaced by fat. Lymphatic Drainage System: Anatomy (prepubertal)
    • Vessels:
      • Superior vena cava
      • Brachiocephalic veins Veins Veins are tubular collections of cells, which transport deoxygenated blood and waste from the capillary beds back to the heart. Veins are classified into 3 types: small veins/venules, medium veins, and large veins. Each type contains 3 primary layers: tunica intima, tunica media, and tunica adventitia. Veins: Histology
      • Aortic arch
      • Innominate artery
      • Thoracic portions of the left common carotid and left subclavian arteries Arteries Arteries are tubular collections of cells that transport oxygenated blood and nutrients from the heart to the tissues of the body. The blood passes through the arteries in order of decreasing luminal diameter, starting in the largest artery (the aorta) and ending in the small arterioles. Arteries are classified into 3 types: large elastic arteries, medium muscular arteries, and small arteries and arterioles. Arteries: Histology
    • Thoracic duct Thoracic Duct The largest lymphatic vessel that passes through the chest and drains into the subclavian vein. Lymphatic Drainage System: Anatomy
    • Nerves:
      • Phrenic nerve Phrenic nerve The motor nerve of the diaphragm. The phrenic nerve fibers originate in the cervical spinal column (mostly C4) and travel through the cervical plexus to the diaphragm. Diaphragm: Anatomy
      • Vagus nerve Vagus nerve The 10th cranial nerve. The vagus is a mixed nerve which contains somatic afferents (from skin in back of the ear and the external auditory meatus), visceral afferents (from the pharynx, larynx, thorax, and abdomen), parasympathetic efferents (to the thorax and abdomen), and efferents to striated muscle (of the larynx and pharynx). Pharynx: Anatomy
      • Left recurrent laryngeal nerve
Cross section of the superior mediastinum trachea

Diagram of a cross-section of the superior mediastinum featuring the spatial relations of the trachea Trachea The trachea is a tubular structure that forms part of the lower respiratory tract. The trachea is continuous superiorly with the larynx and inferiorly becomes the bronchial tree within the lungs. The trachea consists of a support frame of semicircular, or C-shaped, rings made out of hyaline cartilage and reinforced by collagenous connective tissue. Trachea: Anatomy

Image by BioDigital, edited by Lecturio

Inferior mediastinum

The inferior mediastinum is bordered superiorly by the thoracic plane and inferiorly by the diaphragm Diaphragm The diaphragm is a large, dome-shaped muscle that separates the thoracic cavity from the abdominal cavity. The diaphragm consists of muscle fibers and a large central tendon, which is divided into right and left parts. As the primary muscle of inspiration, the diaphragm contributes 75% of the total inspiratory muscle force. Diaphragm: Anatomy, and is further subdivided into the anterior, middle, and posterior mediastina.

  • Anterior mediastinum:
    • Extends from the sternum Sternum A long, narrow, and flat bone commonly known as breastbone occurring in the midsection of the anterior thoracic segment or chest region, which stabilizes the rib cage and serves as the point of origin for several muscles that move the arms, head, and neck. Chest Wall: Anatomy anteriorly to the anterior surface of the pericardium Pericardium A conical fibroserous sac surrounding the heart and the roots of the great vessels (aorta; venae cavae; pulmonary artery). Pericardium consists of two sacs: the outer fibrous pericardium and the inner serous pericardium. The latter consists of an outer parietal layer facing the fibrous pericardium, and an inner visceral layer (epicardium) resting next to the heart, and a pericardial cavity between these two layers. Heart: Anatomy posteriorly
    • Contents:
      • Sternopericardial ligaments
      • Fat
      • Lymph Lymph The interstitial fluid that is in the lymphatic system. Secondary Lymphatic Organs nodes
      • Internal thoracic vessels
      • Remnants of thymus Thymus A single, unpaired primary lymphoid organ situated in the mediastinum, extending superiorly into the neck to the lower edge of the thyroid gland and inferiorly to the fourth costal cartilage. It is necessary for normal development of immunologic function early in life. By puberty, it begins to involute and much of the tissue is replaced by fat. Lymphatic Drainage System: Anatomy
  • Middle mediastinum:
    • Extends between the anterior and posterior surfaces of the pericardium Pericardium A conical fibroserous sac surrounding the heart and the roots of the great vessels (aorta; venae cavae; pulmonary artery). Pericardium consists of two sacs: the outer fibrous pericardium and the inner serous pericardium. The latter consists of an outer parietal layer facing the fibrous pericardium, and an inner visceral layer (epicardium) resting next to the heart, and a pericardial cavity between these two layers. Heart: Anatomy
    • Contains:
      • Heart and pericardium Pericardium A conical fibroserous sac surrounding the heart and the roots of the great vessels (aorta; venae cavae; pulmonary artery). Pericardium consists of two sacs: the outer fibrous pericardium and the inner serous pericardium. The latter consists of an outer parietal layer facing the fibrous pericardium, and an inner visceral layer (epicardium) resting next to the heart, and a pericardial cavity between these two layers. Heart: Anatomy
      • Ascending aorta
      • Pulmonary trunk Pulmonary Trunk Truncus Arteriosus
      • Superior vena cava
      • Pericardiophrenic artery
      • Phrenic nerve Phrenic nerve The motor nerve of the diaphragm. The phrenic nerve fibers originate in the cervical spinal column (mostly C4) and travel through the cervical plexus to the diaphragm. Diaphragm: Anatomy
  • Posterior mediastinum:
    • Extends between the posterior surface of the pericardium Pericardium A conical fibroserous sac surrounding the heart and the roots of the great vessels (aorta; venae cavae; pulmonary artery). Pericardium consists of two sacs: the outer fibrous pericardium and the inner serous pericardium. The latter consists of an outer parietal layer facing the fibrous pericardium, and an inner visceral layer (epicardium) resting next to the heart, and a pericardial cavity between these two layers. Heart: Anatomy and T4 T4 The major hormone derived from the thyroid gland. Thyroxine is synthesized via the iodination of tyrosines (monoiodotyrosine) and the coupling of iodotyrosines (diiodotyrosine) in the thyroglobulin. Thyroxine is released from thyroglobulin by proteolysis and secreted into the blood. Thyroxine is peripherally deiodinated to form triiodothyronine which exerts a broad spectrum of stimulatory effects on cell metabolism. Thyroid Hormones to T12
    • Contains:
      • Esophagus Esophagus The esophagus is a muscular tube-shaped organ of around 25 centimeters in length that connects the pharynx to the stomach. The organ extends from approximately the 6th cervical vertebra to the 11th thoracic vertebra and can be divided grossly into 3 parts: the cervical part, the thoracic part, and the abdominal part. Esophagus: Anatomy
      • Thoracic duct Thoracic Duct The largest lymphatic vessel that passes through the chest and drains into the subclavian vein. Lymphatic Drainage System: Anatomy
      • Cisterna chyli
      • Thoracic aorta
      • Azygos, hemiazygos, and accessory hemiazygos veins Veins Veins are tubular collections of cells, which transport deoxygenated blood and waste from the capillary beds back to the heart. Veins are classified into 3 types: small veins/venules, medium veins, and large veins. Each type contains 3 primary layers: tunica intima, tunica media, and tunica adventitia. Veins: Histology
      • Vagus nerve Vagus nerve The 10th cranial nerve. The vagus is a mixed nerve which contains somatic afferents (from skin in back of the ear and the external auditory meatus), visceral afferents (from the pharynx, larynx, thorax, and abdomen), parasympathetic efferents (to the thorax and abdomen), and efferents to striated muscle (of the larynx and pharynx). Pharynx: Anatomy
      • Esophageal plexus
      • Greater, lesser, and least splanchnic nerves

Great Vessels

The 5 great vessels are located in the mediastinum and consist of the aorta, superior and inferior venae cavae Venae Cavae The inferior and superior venae cavae. Veins: Histology, pulmonary artery Pulmonary artery The short wide vessel arising from the conus arteriosus of the right ventricle and conveying unaerated blood to the lungs. Lungs: Anatomy, and pulmonary vein Pulmonary Vein Total Anomalous Pulmonary Venous Return (TAPVR).

Aorta

The aorta is the main artery of the body consisting of:

  • Ascending aorta:
    • Originates from the left ventricle
    • Gives rise to the right and left coronary arteries Arteries Arteries are tubular collections of cells that transport oxygenated blood and nutrients from the heart to the tissues of the body. The blood passes through the arteries in order of decreasing luminal diameter, starting in the largest artery (the aorta) and ending in the small arterioles. Arteries are classified into 3 types: large elastic arteries, medium muscular arteries, and small arteries and arterioles. Arteries: Histology
    • Located within the pericardium Pericardium A conical fibroserous sac surrounding the heart and the roots of the great vessels (aorta; venae cavae; pulmonary artery). Pericardium consists of two sacs: the outer fibrous pericardium and the inner serous pericardium. The latter consists of an outer parietal layer facing the fibrous pericardium, and an inner visceral layer (epicardium) resting next to the heart, and a pericardial cavity between these two layers. Heart: Anatomy
  • Aortic arch:
    • Connects the ascending aorta and the descending aorta
    • Gives rise to the brachiocephalic trunk, left common carotid artery Common carotid artery The two principal arteries supplying the structures of the head and neck. They ascend in the neck, one on each side, and at the level of the upper border of the thyroid cartilage, each divides into two branches, the external and internal carotid arteries. Carotid Arterial System: Anatomy, and left subclavian artery
    • Located in the middle and posterior mediastinum
    • Runs to the left of the trachea Trachea The trachea is a tubular structure that forms part of the lower respiratory tract. The trachea is continuous superiorly with the larynx and inferiorly becomes the bronchial tree within the lungs. The trachea consists of a support frame of semicircular, or C-shaped, rings made out of hyaline cartilage and reinforced by collagenous connective tissue. Trachea: Anatomy
  • Descending aorta:
    • Starts at the T4 T4 The major hormone derived from the thyroid gland. Thyroxine is synthesized via the iodination of tyrosines (monoiodotyrosine) and the coupling of iodotyrosines (diiodotyrosine) in the thyroglobulin. Thyroxine is released from thyroglobulin by proteolysis and secreted into the blood. Thyroxine is peripherally deiodinated to form triiodothyronine which exerts a broad spectrum of stimulatory effects on cell metabolism. Thyroid Hormones level
    • Passes through the diaphragmatic aortic hiatus Aortic hiatus Diaphragm: Anatomy at the T12 level
    • Transitions to the abdominal aorta Abdominal Aorta The aorta from the diaphragm to the bifurcation into the right and left common iliac arteries. Posterior Abdominal Wall: Anatomy
    • Located in the posterior mediastinum
    • Travels medially and ends anterior to the vertebral column Vertebral column The human spine, or vertebral column, is the most important anatomical and functional axis of the human body. It consists of 7 cervical vertebrae, 12 thoracic vertebrae, and 5 lumbar vertebrae and is limited cranially by the skull and caudally by the sacrum. Vertebral Column: Anatomy
    • Gives rise to the pericardial, bronchial, esophageal, mediastinal, intercostal, subcostal, and phrenic arteries Arteries Arteries are tubular collections of cells that transport oxygenated blood and nutrients from the heart to the tissues of the body. The blood passes through the arteries in order of decreasing luminal diameter, starting in the largest artery (the aorta) and ending in the small arterioles. Arteries are classified into 3 types: large elastic arteries, medium muscular arteries, and small arteries and arterioles. Arteries: Histology

Superior vena cava

  • Originates from the confluence of the 2 brachiocephalic veins Veins Veins are tubular collections of cells, which transport deoxygenated blood and waste from the capillary beds back to the heart. Veins are classified into 3 types: small veins/venules, medium veins, and large veins. Each type contains 3 primary layers: tunica intima, tunica media, and tunica adventitia. Veins: Histology
  • Drains into the right atrium
  • Carries O2-poor blood from the upper body and head
  • Begins behind the 1st right costal cartilage Cartilage Cartilage is a type of connective tissue derived from embryonic mesenchyme that is responsible for structural support, resilience, and the smoothness of physical actions. Perichondrium (connective tissue membrane surrounding cartilage) compensates for the absence of vasculature in cartilage by providing nutrition and support. Cartilage: Histology and descends behind the 2nd and 3rd intercostal spaces Intercostal spaces Chest Wall: Anatomy
  • Located in the superior and middle mediastina
  • The lower ½ is covered by the pericardium Pericardium A conical fibroserous sac surrounding the heart and the roots of the great vessels (aorta; venae cavae; pulmonary artery). Pericardium consists of two sacs: the outer fibrous pericardium and the inner serous pericardium. The latter consists of an outer parietal layer facing the fibrous pericardium, and an inner visceral layer (epicardium) resting next to the heart, and a pericardial cavity between these two layers. Heart: Anatomy.

Inferior vena cava

  • Largest vein in the body
  • Originates from the right and left common iliac veins Veins Veins are tubular collections of cells, which transport deoxygenated blood and waste from the capillary beds back to the heart. Veins are classified into 3 types: small veins/venules, medium veins, and large veins. Each type contains 3 primary layers: tunica intima, tunica media, and tunica adventitia. Veins: Histology
  • Drains into the right atrium
  • Carries O2-poor blood from the lower half of the body
  • Enters the mediastinum through the caval foramen of the diaphragm Diaphragm The diaphragm is a large, dome-shaped muscle that separates the thoracic cavity from the abdominal cavity. The diaphragm consists of muscle fibers and a large central tendon, which is divided into right and left parts. As the primary muscle of inspiration, the diaphragm contributes 75% of the total inspiratory muscle force. Diaphragm: Anatomy at the T8 level
  • Communicates with the superior vena cava through:
    • Azygos vein
    • Vertebral venous plexuses
    • Lumbar veins Veins Veins are tubular collections of cells, which transport deoxygenated blood and waste from the capillary beds back to the heart. Veins are classified into 3 types: small veins/venules, medium veins, and large veins. Each type contains 3 primary layers: tunica intima, tunica media, and tunica adventitia. Veins: Histology
  • Located in the middle mediastinum

Pulmonary arteries Arteries Arteries are tubular collections of cells that transport oxygenated blood and nutrients from the heart to the tissues of the body. The blood passes through the arteries in order of decreasing luminal diameter, starting in the largest artery (the aorta) and ending in the small arterioles. Arteries are classified into 3 types: large elastic arteries, medium muscular arteries, and small arteries and arterioles. Arteries: Histology

  • The main pulmonary artery Pulmonary artery The short wide vessel arising from the conus arteriosus of the right ventricle and conveying unaerated blood to the lungs. Lungs: Anatomy originates from the right ventricle.
  • Pulmonary arteries Arteries Arteries are tubular collections of cells that transport oxygenated blood and nutrients from the heart to the tissues of the body. The blood passes through the arteries in order of decreasing luminal diameter, starting in the largest artery (the aorta) and ending in the small arterioles. Arteries are classified into 3 types: large elastic arteries, medium muscular arteries, and small arteries and arterioles. Arteries: Histology carry deoxygenated blood to the lungs Lungs Lungs are the main organs of the respiratory system. Lungs are paired viscera located in the thoracic cavity and are composed of spongy tissue. The primary function of the lungs is to oxygenate blood and eliminate CO2. Lungs: Anatomy.
  • Located in the middle mediastinum
  • Divided into the right and left pulmonary arteries Arteries Arteries are tubular collections of cells that transport oxygenated blood and nutrients from the heart to the tissues of the body. The blood passes through the arteries in order of decreasing luminal diameter, starting in the largest artery (the aorta) and ending in the small arterioles. Arteries are classified into 3 types: large elastic arteries, medium muscular arteries, and small arteries and arterioles. Arteries: Histology
  • The right pulmonary artery Pulmonary artery The short wide vessel arising from the conus arteriosus of the right ventricle and conveying unaerated blood to the lungs. Lungs: Anatomy passes under the aortic arch.

Pulmonary veins Pulmonary veins The veins that return the oxygenated blood from the lungs to the left atrium of the heart. Lungs: Anatomy

  • 4 pulmonary veins Pulmonary veins The veins that return the oxygenated blood from the lungs to the left atrium of the heart. Lungs: Anatomy: 2 on each side
  • Arise from the pulmonary hilum Hilum Lungs: Anatomy
  • Drain O2-enriched blood into the left atrium
  • Receive blood from the bronchial veins Veins Veins are tubular collections of cells, which transport deoxygenated blood and waste from the capillary beds back to the heart. Veins are classified into 3 types: small veins/venules, medium veins, and large veins. Each type contains 3 primary layers: tunica intima, tunica media, and tunica adventitia. Veins: Histology
  • The superior vena cava and right atrium lie anterior to the right pulmonary veins Pulmonary veins The veins that return the oxygenated blood from the lungs to the left atrium of the heart. Lungs: Anatomy.
  • The descending thoracic aorta lies posterior to the left pulmonary veins Pulmonary veins The veins that return the oxygenated blood from the lungs to the left atrium of the heart. Lungs: Anatomy.
Great vessels

The 5 great vessels: aorta, pulmonary artery Pulmonary artery The short wide vessel arising from the conus arteriosus of the right ventricle and conveying unaerated blood to the lungs. Lungs: Anatomy, pulmonary veins Pulmonary veins The veins that return the oxygenated blood from the lungs to the left atrium of the heart. Lungs: Anatomy, superior vena cava, and inferior vena cava

Image by Lecturio.

Clinical Relevance

Congenital Congenital Chorioretinitis anomalies

  • Coarctation of the aorta Coarctation of the aorta Coarctation of the aorta is a narrowing of the aorta between the aortic arch and the iliac bifurcation commonly around the point of insertion of the ductus arteriosus. Coarctation of the aorta is typically congenital and the clinical presentation depends on the age of the patient. Coarctation of the Aorta: narrowing in the aorta between the aortic arch and the iliac bifurcation. Coarctation of the aorta Coarctation of the aorta Coarctation of the aorta is a narrowing of the aorta between the aortic arch and the iliac bifurcation commonly around the point of insertion of the ductus arteriosus. Coarctation of the aorta is typically congenital and the clinical presentation depends on the age of the patient. Coarctation of the Aorta is most common around the point of insertion of the ductus arteriosus Ductus arteriosus A fetal blood vessel connecting the pulmonary artery with the descending aorta. Patent Ductus Arteriosus (PDA) and is congenital Congenital Chorioretinitis in the majority of cases. Neonates present with heart failure Heart Failure A heterogeneous condition in which the heart is unable to pump out sufficient blood to meet the metabolic need of the body. Heart failure can be caused by structural defects, functional abnormalities (ventricular dysfunction), or a sudden overload beyond its capacity. Chronic heart failure is more common than acute heart failure which results from sudden insult to cardiac function, such as myocardial infarction. Total Anomalous Pulmonary Venous Return (TAPVR) upon the closure of the ductus arteriosus Ductus arteriosus A fetal blood vessel connecting the pulmonary artery with the descending aorta. Patent Ductus Arteriosus (PDA), whereas children and adults present with symptoms of hypoperfusion and/or hypertension Hypertension Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is a common disease that manifests as elevated systemic arterial pressures. Hypertension is most often asymptomatic and is found incidentally as part of a routine physical examination or during triage for an unrelated medical encounter. Hypertension. The classic findings on physical exam include a radio- or brachiofemoral delay Brachiofemoral delay Femoral pulses are delayed compared to brachial pulses. Coarctation of the Aorta and lower blood pressure in the lower limbs. Affected individuals should be surgically managed as early as possible to avoid complications of hypertension Hypertension Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is a common disease that manifests as elevated systemic arterial pressures. Hypertension is most often asymptomatic and is found incidentally as part of a routine physical examination or during triage for an unrelated medical encounter. Hypertension. Close follow-up is required as the risk of hypertension Hypertension Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is a common disease that manifests as elevated systemic arterial pressures. Hypertension is most often asymptomatic and is found incidentally as part of a routine physical examination or during triage for an unrelated medical encounter. Hypertension and relapse Relapse Relapsing Fever remains.
  • Transposition of great vessels: a cyanotic congenital Congenital Chorioretinitis heart disease characterized by the “switching” of the great arteries Arteries Arteries are tubular collections of cells that transport oxygenated blood and nutrients from the heart to the tissues of the body. The blood passes through the arteries in order of decreasing luminal diameter, starting in the largest artery (the aorta) and ending in the small arterioles. Arteries are classified into 3 types: large elastic arteries, medium muscular arteries, and small arteries and arterioles. Arteries: Histology. Transposition of great vessels accounts for 3% of all cases of congenital Congenital Chorioretinitis heart disease and presents within the neonatal phase of life with cyanosis Cyanosis A bluish or purplish discoloration of the skin and mucous membranes due to an increase in the amount of deoxygenated hemoglobin in the blood or a structural defect in the hemoglobin molecule. Pulmonary Examination that is unresponsive to O2 therapy. Diagnosis is confirmed by an echocardiogram Echocardiogram Transposition of the Great Vessels and verified by catheterization. A chest X-ray Chest X-ray X-ray visualization of the chest and organs of the thoracic cavity. It is not restricted to visualization of the lungs. Pulmonary Function Tests shows the classic “egg on a string” pattern. Treatment is eminently surgical, and the prognosis Prognosis A prediction of the probable outcome of a disease based on a individual’s condition and the usual course of the disease as seen in similar situations. Non-Hodgkin Lymphomas for surgically corrected cases is good.
  • Truncus arteriosus Truncus arteriosus Truncus arteriosus (TA) is a congenital heart defect characterized by the persistence of a common cardiac arterial trunk tract that fails to divide into the pulmonary artery and aorta during embryonic development. Truncus arteriosus is a rare congenital malformation with a high mortality rate within the 1st 5 weeks of life if not managed promptly. Truncus Arteriosus: a congenital Congenital Chorioretinitis heart defect characterized by the persistence of a common cardiac Cardiac Total Anomalous Pulmonary Venous Return (TAPVR) arterial trunk Arterial Trunk Truncus Arteriosus tract that fails to divide into the pulmonary artery Pulmonary artery The short wide vessel arising from the conus arteriosus of the right ventricle and conveying unaerated blood to the lungs. Lungs: Anatomy and aorta during embryonic development. Truncus arteriosus Truncus arteriosus Truncus arteriosus (TA) is a congenital heart defect characterized by the persistence of a common cardiac arterial trunk tract that fails to divide into the pulmonary artery and aorta during embryonic development. Truncus arteriosus is a rare congenital malformation with a high mortality rate within the 1st 5 weeks of life if not managed promptly. Truncus Arteriosus is a rare congenital Congenital Chorioretinitis malformation with a high mortality rate Mortality rate Calculated as the ratio of the total number of people who die due to all causes over a specific time period to the total number of people in the selected population. Measures of Health Status within the 1st 5 weeks of life if not managed promptly. Neonates may be asymptomatic at birth but will invariably develop respiratory distress and heart failure Heart Failure A heterogeneous condition in which the heart is unable to pump out sufficient blood to meet the metabolic need of the body. Heart failure can be caused by structural defects, functional abnormalities (ventricular dysfunction), or a sudden overload beyond its capacity. Chronic heart failure is more common than acute heart failure which results from sudden insult to cardiac function, such as myocardial infarction. Total Anomalous Pulmonary Venous Return (TAPVR). Diagnosis is commonly made prenatally based on screening Screening Preoperative Care and ultrasound. Treatment involves medical stabilization immediately after birth and is followed by definitive surgery.

Inflammatory disorders

Mediastinitis Mediastinitis Mediastinitis refers to an infection or inflammation involving the mediastinum (a region in the thoracic cavity containing the heart, thymus gland, portions of the esophagus, and trachea). Acute mediastinitis can be caused by bacterial infection due to direct contamination, hematogenous or lymphatic spread, or extension of infection from nearby structures. Mediastinitis: an infection or inflammation Inflammation Inflammation is a complex set of responses to infection and injury involving leukocytes as the principal cellular mediators in the body’s defense against pathogenic organisms. Inflammation is also seen as a response to tissue injury in the process of wound healing. The 5 cardinal signs of inflammation are pain, heat, redness, swelling, and loss of function. Inflammation involving the mediastinum. Acute mediastinitis Mediastinitis Mediastinitis refers to an infection or inflammation involving the mediastinum (a region in the thoracic cavity containing the heart, thymus gland, portions of the esophagus, and trachea). Acute mediastinitis can be caused by bacterial infection due to direct contamination, hematogenous or lymphatic spread, or extension of infection from nearby structures. Mediastinitis can be caused by bacterial infection either due to direct contamination, hematogenous Hematogenous Hepatocellular Carcinoma (HCC) and Liver Metastases or lymphatic spread, or extension Extension Examination of the Upper Limbs of infection from nearby structures. Chronic mediastinitis Mediastinitis Mediastinitis refers to an infection or inflammation involving the mediastinum (a region in the thoracic cavity containing the heart, thymus gland, portions of the esophagus, and trachea). Acute mediastinitis can be caused by bacterial infection due to direct contamination, hematogenous or lymphatic spread, or extension of infection from nearby structures. Mediastinitis, also known as fibrosing mediastinitis Mediastinitis Mediastinitis refers to an infection or inflammation involving the mediastinum (a region in the thoracic cavity containing the heart, thymus gland, portions of the esophagus, and trachea). Acute mediastinitis can be caused by bacterial infection due to direct contamination, hematogenous or lymphatic spread, or extension of infection from nearby structures. Mediastinitis, is commonly related to chronic inflammatory conditions that cause connective tissue Connective tissue Connective tissues originate from embryonic mesenchyme and are present throughout the body except inside the brain and spinal cord. The main function of connective tissues is to provide structural support to organs. Connective tissues consist of cells and an extracellular matrix. Connective Tissue: Histology proliferation. Mediastinitis Mediastinitis Mediastinitis refers to an infection or inflammation involving the mediastinum (a region in the thoracic cavity containing the heart, thymus gland, portions of the esophagus, and trachea). Acute mediastinitis can be caused by bacterial infection due to direct contamination, hematogenous or lymphatic spread, or extension of infection from nearby structures. Mediastinitis is treatable with supportive care, broad-spectrum Broad-Spectrum Fluoroquinolones antibiotics, or surgery in severe cases. Mortality Mortality All deaths reported in a given population. Measures of Health Status from this condition is high.

Degenerative disorders

Thoracic aortic aneurysm Thoracic Aortic Aneurysm Thoracic aortic aneurysm (TAA) is the abnormal dilation of a segment of the thoracic aorta, usually the ascending aorta. Most TAAs are due to degenerative aortic disorders, commonly in patients > 65 years of age. Most TAAs are asymptomatic (incidentally found in imaging) but could present with symptoms from its effects on surrounding structures. Thoracic Aortic Aneurysms ( TAA TAA Thoracic aortic aneurysm (TAA) is the abnormal dilation of a segment of the thoracic aorta, usually the ascending aorta. Most TAAs are due to degenerative aortic disorders, commonly in patients > 65 years of age. Most TAAs are asymptomatic (incidentally found in imaging) but could present with symptoms from its effects on surrounding structures. Thoracic Aortic Aneurysms): dilatation of the arterial wall by > 50% of its diameter. The ascending aorta is most commonly involved. Most TAAs are due to degenerative aortic disorders, commonly occurring in individuals > 65 years of age. Genetic TAAs account for 20% of cases and are frequently found in younger individuals. Thoracic aortic aneurysm Thoracic Aortic Aneurysm Thoracic aortic aneurysm (TAA) is the abnormal dilation of a segment of the thoracic aorta, usually the ascending aorta. Most TAAs are due to degenerative aortic disorders, commonly in patients > 65 years of age. Most TAAs are asymptomatic (incidentally found in imaging) but could present with symptoms from its effects on surrounding structures. Thoracic Aortic Aneurysms may be associated with Marfan syndrome Marfan syndrome Marfan syndrome is a genetic condition with autosomal dominant inheritance. Marfan syndrome affects the elasticity of connective tissues throughout the body, most notably in the cardiovascular, ocular, and musculoskeletal systems. Marfan Syndrome. Among diagnostic imaging studies, CT angiography CT angiography A non-invasive method that uses a ct scanner for capturing images of blood vessels and tissues. A contrast material is injected, which helps produce detailed images that aid in diagnosing vascular diseases. Imaging of the Lungs and Pleura is the most widely used. Close monitoring is indicated for asymptomatic cases. Operative repair is recommended for symptomatic TAAs or in the case of increasing aortic diameter (criteria vary with location and the underlying condition).

References

  1. Bamalan, O.A., Soos, M.P. (2021). Anatomy, Thorax, Heart Great Vessels. StatPearls. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK547680/ 
  2. Rizvi, S., Wehrle, C.J., Law, M.A. (2021). Anatomy, Thorax, Mediastinum Superior and Great Vessels. StatPearls. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK519576/ 
  3. Gulwani, H. (2020). Mediastinum, general anatomy. Pathology outlines. Retrieved August 25, 2021, from https://www.pathologyoutlines.com/topic/mediastinumgeneral.html

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