oesophageal aperture (anatomy)

Last reviewed 01/2018

The oesophageal aperture is the route that the oesophagus takes through the muscular part of the diaphragm. It is characterised by:

  • in inspiration, usually sited at the level of the T10 vertebra posteriorly and the 7th costal cartilage anteriorly
  • formed by fibres of the right crus
  • relations:
    • anteriorly: fibrous pericardium
    • posteriorly: thoracic aorta
    • right: inferior vena cava
  • the oesophagus is firmly attached to, and enters obliquely through, the oesophageal hiatus; these factors aid in maintaining the competence of the 'anatomical sphincter' to prevent reflux
  • other structures traversing the oesophageal aperture include:
    • anterior and posterior vagal trunks
    • ascending oesphageal branch of left gastric artery and veins