Q:

What does the thoracic cavity contain?

A:

Quick Answer

The thoracic cavity contains part of the esophagus, the thymus, the thoracic duct, the trachea, the lungs and bronchi. It also contains the heart and great vessels, which include the left subclavian artery, the right brachiocephalic artery, the left common carotid artery, and the right and left brachiocephalic veins.

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Full Answer

The thoracic cavity also contains lymph nodes, nerves and two smaller cavities. Each lung is surrounded by a pleural cavity, and the heart is surrounded by the pericardial cavity.

The thoracic cavity is located between the neck and the diaphragm, and it is surrounded by the ribs. Part of the thoracic cavity is called the mediastinum, which is the space between the lungs. The mediastinum is where the heart, the esophagus, the trachea, the thymus and the aorta are located.

The esophagus is part of the digestive system, and it transports food and liquid to the stomach. The thymus is a gland associated with the immune system. It transforms T cells, a type of white cell that fights infection from bacteria and viruses, by turning immature T cells into mature T cells. The lungs, which are part of the respiratory system, and the heart, which is part of the cardiac system, work together to oxygenate the blood and pump it throughout the body.

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