Last reviewed 01/2018

This section includes any of the structures which traverse the diaphragm:

  • major openings:
    • vena caval foramen
    • aortic aperture
    • oesophageal aperture
  • minor openings:
    • hemiazygous vein; through the left crus
    • phrenic nerves:
      • left phrenic nerve through the muscular left dome lateral to the fibrous pericardium
      • right phrenic nerve through the tendinous vena caval aperture
    • splanchnic nerves; through the crura
  • lower 5 to 6 intercostal nerves and vessels; pass anteroinferiorly through seperate pairs of fibres of the diaphragm posterior to the lower costal cartilages
    • musculophrenic vessels; through the fibres originating from the 7th and 8th costal cartilages
    • subcostal nerves and vessels; pass posterolateral to medial arcuate ligaments
    • sympathetic trunks; posterior to medial arcuate ligaments immediately lateral to the T12 vertebral body
    • superior epigastric vessels; traverse the sternocostal hiatus
    • minor lymphatics; ascend after diffusely traversing the diaphragm to nodes on its superior surface