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Within the superior mediastinum, the thorax lies slightly to the left of the median plane but tends to slope back towards it as it passes to the fifth thoracic vertebra.
Its relations during this course are:
- posterior: vertebral bodies, longus colli muscles
- left: thoracic duct interposed between pleura
- right: cervical pleura; more inferiorly the arch of the azygous vein over the right lung root
- anteriorly, from superficial to deep:
- left brachiocephalic vein
- arch of aorta or its branches:
- the arch slopes posteriorly and to the left in the inferior part of the superior mediastinum
- more superiorly, the oesophagus is closest to the left subclavian artery from which its left anterior surface is separated by the recurrent laryngeal nerve within the laryngotracheal groove
Last reviewed 01/2018