Monday, May 9, 2011

Thoracic Aorta

Contained in the posterior mediastinal cavity, the thoracic aorta is the section of the aorta artery which begins right after the aortic arch and descends to the diaphragm, which is the muscle that separates the chest from the abdomen. At the starting point, the thoracic aorta is located on the left of the vertebral column; it approaches the median line as it descends behind the heart; and, at its termination, lies directly in front of the column. As it runs down the thorax, the thoracic aorta gives off several paired branches, such as the bronchial arteries, the mediastinal arteries, the esophageal arteries, the pericardial arteries, and the superior phrenic artery.