Compartments of the mediastinum

What are the three compartments of the mediastinum?

  • • The anterior mediastinal compartment is a space posterior to the sternum and anterior to the heart and trachea extending from the thoracic inlet to the diaphragm; it contains the thymus, thyroid gland, fat, and lymph nodes.
  • • The middle mediastinal compartment is a space that contains the heart and pericardium, the ascending aorta and aortic arch, brachiocephalic vessels, venae cavae, main pulmonary arteries and veins, trachea and bronchi, fat, and lymph nodes.
  • • The posterior mediastinal compartment is a space posterior to the middle mediastinal compartment that contains the descending thoracic aorta, esophagus, azygos and hemiazygos veins, autonomic ganglia and nerves, thoracic duct, fat, and lymph nodes.
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