This site is intended for healthcare professionals

Go to /sign-in page

You can view 5 more pages before signing in

Cardiac nerves (sympathetic, anatomy)

Last reviewed dd mmm yyyy. Last edited dd mmm yyyy

Authoring team

The sympathetic cardiac nerves are six postganglionic branches of the sympathetic nervous system which run from the cervical ganglia of the sympathetic trunk to the cardiac plexus. They are named after the ganglion from which they emerge:

  • superior cervical ganglion: superior cardiac nerve
  • middle cervical ganglion: middle cardiac nerve
  • inferior or stellate cervical ganglion: inferior cardiac nerve

The nerves descend to the root of the neck with the following relations:

  • posterior: prevertebral fascia overlying anterolateral surface of vertebral bodies
  • anterior:
    • and superior: common carotid artery
    • and inferior: subclavian artery
  • laterally: sympathetic trunk

Entering the superior mediastinum, they ramify to contribute to the plexuses on the surfaces of the oesophagus and the trachea. However, their major target is the deep part of the cardiac plexus. The exception to this rule is the left superior cardiac nerve which passes over the arch of the aorta anterior to the vagus nerve; it alone contributes to the superficial cardiac plexus.

Sympathetic fibres from the first five thoracic segments also supply the cardiac plexuses.

Related pages

Create an account to add page annotations

Add information to this page that would be handy to have on hand during a consultation, such as a web address or phone number. This information will always be displayed when you visit this page

The content herein is provided for informational purposes and does not replace the need to apply professional clinical judgement when diagnosing or treating any medical condition. A licensed medical practitioner should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions.


Copyright 2024 Oxbridge Solutions Limited, a subsidiary of OmniaMed Communications Limited. All rights reserved. Any distribution or duplication of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited. Oxbridge Solutions receives funding from advertising but maintains editorial independence.