Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Structures inside the mediastinum include the heart, aorta, vena cava, pulmonary artery, pulmonary vein, oesophagus, thymus, thoracic duct, the phrenic nerve and many smaller structures. Occasionally, the thyroid and parathyroids may extend into the mediastinum.
Role in disease
Mediastinitis is inflammation of the tissues in the mediastinum, usually bacterial and due to rupture of organs in the mediastinum. As the infection can progress very quickly, this is a serious condition.
Pneumomediastinum is the presence of air in the mediastinum, which can lead to pneumothorax, pneumoperitoneum , and pneumopericardium if left untreated in some cases, though that does not always happen and sometimes those conditions actually are the cause, not the result, of pneumomediastinum.
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