Thoracic cavity

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Thoracic cavity
Details
Identifiers
Latin Cavitas thoracis, cavum thoracis
MeSH D035423
TA98 A01.1.00.049
A02.3.04.002
A07.0.00.000
TA2 126
FMA 7565
Anatomical terminology
The picture displays the Mediastinum on sagittal plane, Thoracic diaphragm at the bottom, the heart (Cor), behind Sternum and Costae (to the left on the picture (This is the Anterior (front))) and to the right (Posterior (back)) you have the Thoracic vertebrae. Gray846.png
The picture displays the Mediastinum on sagittal plane, Thoracic diaphragm at the bottom, the heart (Cor), behind Sternum and Costae (to the left on the picture (This is the Anterior (front))) and to the right (Posterior (back)) you have the Thoracic vertebrae.

The thoracic cavity (or chest cavity) is the chamber of the body of vertebrates that is protected by the thoracic wall (rib cage and associated skin, muscle, and fascia). The central compartment of the thoracic cavity is the mediastinum. There are two openings of the thoracic cavity, a superior thoracic aperture known as the thoracic inlet and a lower inferior thoracic aperture known as the thoracic outlet.

Contents

The thoracic cavity includes the tendons as well as the cardiovascular system which could be damaged from injury to the back, spine or the neck.

Structure

Structures within the thoracic cavity include:

It contains three potential spaces lined with mesothelium: the paired pleural cavities and the pericardial cavity. The mediastinum comprises those organs which lie in the centre of the chest between the lungs. The cavity also contains two openings one at the top, the superior thoracic aperture also called the thoracic inlet, and a lower inferior thoracic aperture which is much larger than the inlet.

Clinical significance

If the pleural cavity is breached from the outside, as by a bullet wound or knife wound, a pneumothorax, or air in the cavity, may result. If the volume of air is significant, one or both lungs may collapse, which requires immediate medical attention.

Additional images

See also

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Thoracic diaphragm Sheet of internal skeletal muscle

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Mediastinum Central part of the thoracic cavity

The mediastinum is the central compartment of the thoracic cavity. Surrounded by loose connective tissue, it is an undelineated region that contains a group of structures within the thorax, namely the heart and its vessels, the esophagus, the trachea, the phrenic and cardiac nerves, the thoracic duct, the thymus and the lymph nodes of the central chest.

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Hemothorax Blood accumulation in the pleural cavity

A hemothorax is an accumulation of blood within the pleural cavity. The symptoms of a hemothorax may include chest pain and difficulty breathing, while the clinical signs may include reduced breath sounds on the affected side and a rapid heart rate. Hemothoraces are usually caused by an injury, but they may occur spontaneously due to cancer invading the pleural cavity, as a result of a blood clotting disorder, as an unusual manifestation of endometriosis, in response to a collapsed lung, or rarely in association with other conditions.

Chylothorax Medical condition

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Thoracic inlet

The thoracic inlet, also known as the superior thoracic aperture, refers to the opening at the top of the thoracic cavity. It is also clinically referred to as the thoracic outlet, in the case of thoracic outlet syndrome; this refers to the superior thoracic aperture, and not to the lower, larger opening, the inferior thoracic aperture.

Descending thoracic aorta

The descending thoracic aorta is a part of the aorta located in the thorax. It is a continuation of the aortic arch. It is located within the posterior mediastinal cavity, but frequently bulges into the left pleural cavity. The descending thoracic aorta begins at the lower border of the fourth thoracic vertebra and ends in front of the lower border of the twelfth thoracic vertebra, at the aortic hiatus in the diaphragm where it becomes the abdominal aorta.

Pneumomediastinum Medical condition

Pneumomediastinum is pneumatosis in the mediastinum. First described in 1819 by René Laennec, the condition can result from physical trauma or other situations that lead to air escaping from the lungs, airways, or bowel into the chest cavity.

Root of the lung

The root of the lung is a group of structures that emerge at the hilum of each lung, just above the middle of the mediastinal surface and behind the cardiac impression of the lung. It is nearer to the back than the front. The root of the lung is connected by the structures that form it to the heart and the trachea. The rib cage is separated from the lung by a two-layered membranous coating, the pleura. The hilum is the large triangular depression where the connection between the parietal pleura and the visceral pleura is made, and this marks the meeting point between the mediastinum and the pleural cavities.

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Pulmonary pleurae Serous membrane that lines the wall of the thoracic cavity and the surface of the lung

The pulmonary pleurae are the two opposing layers of serous membrane overlying the lungs and the inside of the surrounding chest walls.

References

  1. Eskandarlou, M.; Moaddab, A. H. (2010). "Chest wall necrosis and empyema resulting from attempting suicide by injection of petroleum into the pleural cavity". Emergency Medicine Journal. 27 (8): 616–8. doi:10.1136/emj.2009.073486. PMID   20558490. S2CID   206938595.