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The Collaborative International Dictionary

Mediastine \Me`di*as"tine\, Mediastinum \Me`di*as*ti"num\, n. [NL. mediastinum, fr. L. medius middle; cf. mediastinus helper, a menial servant, LL. mediastinus equiv. to medius: cf F. m['e]diastin.] (Anat.) A partition; a septum; specifically, the folds of the pleura (and the space included between them) which divide the thorax into a right and left cavity. The space included between these folds of the pleura, called the mediastinal space, contains the heart and gives passage to the esophagus and great blood vessels.


n. (context anatomy English) The region in mammals between the pleural sacs, containing the heart and all of the thoracic viscera except the lungs.

  1. n. the part of the thoracic cavity between the lungs that contains the heart and aorta and esophagus and trachea and thymus

  2. [also: mediastina (pl)]


The mediastinum (from Medieval Latin mediastinus, "midway") is the central compartment of the thoracic cavity surrounded by loose connective tissue, as an undelineated region that contains a group of structures within the thorax. The mediastinum contains the heart and its vessels, the esophagus, trachea, phrenic and cardiac nerves, the thoracic duct, thymus and lymph nodes of the central chest.

Usage examples of "mediastinum".

Hospital in London there is a congenital tumor which was removed from the anterior mediastinum of a woman of twenty one, and contained portions of skin, fat, sebaceous material, and two pieces of bone similar to the superior maxilla, and in which several teeth were found.

And anthrax could be distinguished by the characteristic X ray showing a swelling of the lymph nodes between the lungs, in the part of the chest known as the mediastinum.

Notwithstanding subsequent pneumothorax and extensive pleuritic effusion, the patient made a good recovery at the end of the fourth week and at the time of report it was still uncertain whether the needle remained in the heart or had wandered into the mediastinum.