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|Position of the xiphoid process (shown in red).|
|Posterior surface of sternum. (Xiphoid process labeled at bottom.)|
|Gray's||subject #27 121|
The xiphoid process //, or xiphisternum or metasternum, is a small cartilaginous process (extension) of the lower part of the sternum which is usually ossified in the adult human. By age 15 to 29, the xiphoid usually fuses to the body of the sternum with a fibrous joint. Unlike the synovial articulation of major joints, this is non-movable. Much the way the first seven ribs articulate with the sternum, the cartilage in the celiac plexus joins on the xiphoid process, reinforcing it, and indirectly attaches the costal cartilage to the sternum. In newborn babies and young (especially slender) infants, the tip of the xiphoid process may be both seen and felt as a lump just below the sternal notch.
The xiphoid process can be naturally bifurcated, and sometimes perforated. These variances in morphology are inheritable, which can help group family members together when dealing with burial remains. These morphological differences pose no health risk, and are simply a difference in form.
Pressure on the xiphoid process should be avoided when administering chest compressions in CPR, as this can cause the xiphoid process to break off, resulting in punctures or lacerations of the diaphragm. Additionally, the liver may be punctured, resulting in lethal hemorrhaging.
In 1712 was the first known case of a xiphoid disorder.
Xiphoidalgia (Xiphodynia) is a syndrome distinguishable by pain and tenderness to the sternum. While some sources describe this disorder as rare, others suggest it is relatively common but overlooked by physicians. Symptoms can include abdominal pain, chest pain, nausea and radiating pain to the back, neck, and shoulders. Lifting heavy objects or trauma to the chest may be the cause of this musculoskeletal disorder and pain may be heightened by bending or twisting. Anesthetic and steroid injections are commonly employed to treat this medical condition.[dead link]
Xiphoid process in birds
In birds, the xiphoid process is a long structure, often following the direction of the carina.
Lateral (side) border of sternum. (Xiphoid process labeled at bottom.)
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