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What is Mediastinum? What are the diseases?

The mediastinum or mediastinum is the part of the rib cage behind the lungs. The mediastinum is a cavity containing many organs and pathologies. Thymic pathology, germ cell neoplasms, neuroendocrine tumors, lymphomas, soft tissue tumors and metastatic tumors constitute the main pathology.
It extends from the top of the thorax to the diaphragm. It includes the heart, great vessels of the heart, esophagus, trachea, phrenic nerve, cardiac nerve, thymus, and mediastinal lymph nodes.

Unlike adults, children often have respiratory distress and recurrent lung infections. Pain and cough are the most common symptoms, and severe pain indicates an advanced and invasive disease. Recurrent pulmonary infections and hemoptysis due to airway compression, dysphagia due to esophageal compression, paralysis due to spinal column involvement, unilateral diaphragmatic elevation due to phrenic nerve damage, hoarseness due to recurrent laryngeal nerve involvement, Horner's syndrome due to sympathetic ganglion involvement and vena cava superior (VCS) ) compression-related VKS syndrome 3 (VCSS) are the compression symptoms that can be seen. As in thymoma, systemic findings of some mediastinal diseases can be detected.

It consists of three main parts;

Anterior mediastinum: (anterosuperior compartment or retrosternal space)  It is located behind the sternum, in front of the pericardium. Thymus, extrapericardial aorta and its branches, great veins and lymphatic tissues are included in this section.

Middle mediastinum: (visceral area)  It is bounded anteriorly by the anterior pericardium, posteriorly by the posterior pericardium, the diaphragm, and the thoracic inlet. This section includes the heart, intrapericardial great vessel, pericardium, and trachea.

Posterior mediastinum: It extends from the posterior margins of the pericardium to the posterior border of the vertebral bodies, from the 1st rib to the diaphragm. Esophagus, nervus vagus, thoracic duct, sympathetic chain and azygos vein system are included in this section.


IMAGING - CT, MRI,  Radionucleic study

TISSUE SAMPLING - Mediastinoscopy, Thoracoscopy, Needle aspiration, open lung biopsy

Barium X-ray - Hernia, Achalasia, Diverticulum

•I-131- Intrathoracic goiter

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Mediastinal Diseases Short Facts

Ankara Etlik City Hospital Chest, Cardiovascular Diseases Hospital

Varlık, Halil Sezai Erkut Cd. No:5, Yenimahalle/Ankara

Information and Appointment



  • Prof. Dr. Serdar Han
  • Prof. Dr. Serdar Han
  • Prof. Dr. Serdar Han
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