Mediastinal lymph nodes
Mediastinal lymph nodes are glands that filter substances, white blood cells are found inside. Mediastinal lymph nodes are located in the part of the chest that lies between the sternum and the spinal column. This is the area that contains the heart, thymus gland, windpipe, and large blood vessels. Lymph nodes vary in size from the size of a pinhead to the size of a lima bean. They are enclosed in a fibrous capsule. A lymph node can be thought of as a biological filter placed in the channel of several afferent lymph vessels (meaning toward the center or toward the central nervous system). Lymph nodes are connected to each other by various lymphatic vessels and are efferent vessels (meaning away from the center or away from the central nervous system) Mediastinal lymph nodes are responsible for helping bone marrow and the thymus produce mature lymphocytes. Lymph nodes usually assist in protecting in infection; however, cancers usually spread to the lymph nodes first. When this occurs, it usually means a bad prognosis for the patient.
Written and medically reviewed by the Healthline Editorial Team
In Depth: Mediastinal lymph nodes