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Mediastinal Structures


Mediastinum is interpleural space bounded on either side by mediastinal pleura, anteriorly by sternum and posteriorly by thoracic vertebral column. It is divided into superior and inferior mediastinum by a line passing through sternal angle and lower border of T4 vertebra. Inferior mediastinum is further subdivided into anterior mediastinum in front of pericardium; middle mediastinum includes pericardium and heart, and posterior mediastinum behind the pericardium. Important contents in mediastinum are –





  • Trachea, esophagus, thymus, thoracic duct, lymph node.
  • Nerves:-Vagus, phrenic, cardiac nerves, left recurrent laryngeal nerve.
  • Arteries:-Arch of aorta, brachiocephalic artery, left common carotid artery, leftsubclavian artery.
  • Veins:-Brachiocephalic veins, upper half ofSVC, left superior intercostal vein.
  • Muscles: - Origin of sternohyoid, sternothyroid and longuscolli.


  • Sternopericardialligaments, lymph nodes, lowest part of thymus, areolar tissue.
  • Mediastinal branches of the internal thoracic artery.


  • Heart with pericardium, bifurcation of trachea, right and left principal bronchi, lymph nodes.
  • Arteries: - Ascending aorta, pulmonary trunk, two pulmonary arteries.
  • Veins:-Lower part ofSVC, terminal part of the azygous vein, right and left pulmonary veins.
  • Nerves:-Phrenic nerve, deep cardiac plexus.


  • Esophagus, thoracic duct, lymph nodes.
  • Arteries: - Descending thoracic aorta and its branches.
  • Veins:-Azygous, hemiazygous, accessory hemiazygous.
  • Nerves:-Vagi, greater, lesser and least splanchnic nerves from lower 8 thoracic ganglia.

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