cardiac plexus (deep, anatomy)

Last reviewed 01/2018

The deep cardiac plexus is an anatomical division of the cardiac plexus; it lies more posterior than the smaller superficial cardiac plexus, but both are connected by a number of fine interneurones. It is located within the mediastinum anteroinferior to the bifurcation of the trachea, posterior to the arch of the aorta and to the right of the ligamentum arteriosum.

The deep part of the cardiac plexus receives nerve fibres from both pre-ganglionic parasympathetic and post-ganglionic sympathetic nerves:

  • vagus nerve:
    • superior cardiac nerves:
      • right side superior and inferior cervical branches
      • left side from superior cervical branch only
    • inferior cardiac nerves: from the right side only
  • recurrent laryngeal nerves on both sides
  • sympathetic nervous system:
    • cervical cardiac nerves from all cervical ganglia except the left superior ganglion
    • thoracic fibres from the upper five thoracic ganglia

The distribution of nerve fibres from the plexus to the heart is considered within the submenu.