Nerves, Blood Vessels and Lymph


Nerves in the thoracic region

The nerves in the thoracic region is a cluster of nerve fibers found in the upper body particularly within the chest region. These nerve fibers are considered spinal nerves, which carry and transmit information between the spinal cord and parts of the body. Intercostal nerves the 11 of the 12 nerves that are situated in spaces located between 2 ribs. The fibers of the first two thoracic nerves extend to the shoulder and arms, and the next four nerves direct signals to the chest. The lower five thoracic nerves are found in the chest and abdomen. The last thoracic nerve supplies the abdominal wall and the buttocks, specifically the skin.

Blood vessels in the thoracic region

Thoracic aorta:

The thoracic aorta is a section of the aorta, the largest artery in the body, within the chest. The thoracic aorta shifts to the midline in the lower thorax, lying on the anterior aspect of the lower thoracic vertebrae. The thoracic aorta gives off bronchial arteries (which supply the lungs) and all the posterior intercostal arteries except the first two on each side (supplied by the highest intercostal artery of the costocervical trunk). The thoracic aorta gives off numerous branches that supply oxygenated blood to the chest cage and the organs within the chest. The aorta is one continuous conduit that stems from the left ventricle of the heart to carry blood to most of the body. The thoracic aorta is nonetheless a hallowed and convenient subdivision of the aorta.


The thoracic duct is the largest and most important lymphatic channel of the body. Itdrains the lower extremities, pelvis, abdomen, left side of the thorax, left upper extremity, and left side of the head and neck. The thoracic duct subsequently enters the thorax through the aortic hiatus just to the right of the aorta. On entering the thorax, the thoracic duct continues superiorly along the anterior aspect of the thoracic vertebral bodies. Between T7 and T5 it passes to the left side of the anterior aspect of the vertebral bodies. The thoracic duct continues superiorly to empty into the junction of the left subclavian and internal jugular veins. The right lymphatic duct drains the right side of the thorax, right upper extremity, and right side of the neck and head. It usually empties into the right subclavian vein, the internal jugular vein, or the union of the two. The lymphatics of the thoracic cage drain into mediastinal nodes, which in turn drain into either the right lymphatic duct or the thoracic duct.


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Advanced Anatomy 2nd. Ed. Copyright © 2018 by PHED 301 Students is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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