The thorax is the body cavity, surrounded by the bony rib cage, that contains the heart and lungs, the great vessels, the esophagus and trachea, the thoracic duct, and the autonomic innervation for these structures. The inferior boundary of the thoracic cavity is the respiratory diaphragm, which separates the thoracic and abdominal cavities. Superiorly, the thorax communicates with the root of the neck and the upper extremity. The wall of the thorax contains the muscles involved with respiration and those connecting the upper extremity to the axial skeleton. The wall of the thorax is responsible for protecting the contents of the thoracic cavity and for generating the negative pressure required for respiration. The thorax is covered by skin and superficial fascia, which contains the mammary tissue.

This chapter reviews the mediastinum and pulmonary cavities within the thorax and discusses their contents. The wall of

From: Handbook of Cardiac Anatomy, Physiology, and Devices Edited by: P. A. Iaizzo © Humana Press Inc., Totowa, NJ

the thorax and its associated muscles, nerves, and vessels are covered in relationship to respiration. The surface anatomical landmarks that designate deeper anatomical structures and sites of access and auscultation are reviewed. The goal of this chapter is to provide a complete picture of the thorax and its contents, with detailed anatomy of thoracic structures excluding the heart. A detailed description of cardiac anatomy is the subject of Chapter 4.

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Essentials of Human Physiology

Essentials of Human Physiology

This ebook provides an introductory explanation of the workings of the human body, with an effort to draw connections between the body systems and explain their interdependencies. A framework for the book is homeostasis and how the body maintains balance within each system. This is intended as a first introduction to physiology for a college-level course.

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