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Posterior mediastinum
A transverse section of the thorax, showing the contents of the middle and the posterior mediastinum.
Latin mediastinum posterius
Gray's subject #239 1093

The posterior mediastinum is an irregular triangular space running parallel with the vertebral column.



It is bounded:

  • anteriorly by the pericardium (in front of)
  • inferiorly by the thoracic surface of the diaphragm (below).
  • superiorly by the transverse thoracic plane (above). This plane is marked by an imaginary line travelling through the manubriosternal joint to the dividing line between the fourth and fifth thoracic vertebrae.
  • posteriorally by the bodies of the vertebral column from the lower border of the fifth to the twelfth thoracic vertebra (behind).
  • laterally: by the mediastinal pleura (on either side)


The contents of posterior mediastinum can be remembered using the mnemonic, "DATES", for Descending aorta, Azygous vein and hemiazygos vein, Thoracic duct, Esophagus, Sympathetic trunk/ganglia.[2]

See also


  1. ^ thoraxlesson5 at The Anatomy Lesson by Wesley Norman (Georgetown University) - "Posterior Mediastinum"
  2. ^ "Medical mnemonic, Contents of Posterior mediastinum". LifeHugger. Retrieved 2009-12-15.  

External links

This article was originally based on an entry from a public domain edition of Gray's Anatomy. As such, some of the information contained within it may be outdated.



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