Thoracic cavity seen from left.
, among others removed.
thoracic cavity (or chest cavity) is the chamber of the human body (and other animal bodies) that is protected by the thoracic wall ( thoracic cage and associated skin, muscle, and fascia).
The thoracic area includes the tendons as well as the
cardiovascular system which could be damaged from injury to the back, spine or the neck.
Structure [ edit ]
Structures within the thoracic cavity include:
structures of the
cardiovascular system, including the heart and great vessels, which include the thoracic aorta, the pulmonary artery and all its branches, the superior and inferior vena cava, the pulmonary veins, and the azygos vein structures of the
respiratory system, including the Diaphragm, trachea, bronchi and lungs [1 ] structures of the
digestive system, including the esophagus,
endocrine glands, including the thymus gland, structures of the
nervous system including the paired vagus nerves, and the paired sympathetic chains,
lymphatics including the thoracic duct.
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.
Clinical significance [ edit ]
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 [ edit ]
Illustration of Heart in Thoracic Cavity
Illustration of Heart Position Relative to the Rib Cage
See also [ edit ]
This article uses anatomical terminology; for an overview, see anatomical terminology.
External links [ edit ]
^ Eskandarlou M, Moaddab AH. Chest wall necrosis and empyema resulting from attempting suicide by injection of petroleum into the pleural cavity. Emerg Med J. 2010 Aug;27(8):616-8. doi: 10.1136/emj.2009.073486. Epub 2010 Jun 17.