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|Surface projections of the organs of the trunk, with chest region seen stretching down to approximately the end of the oblique lung fissure anteriorly, but more deeply it its lower limit rather corresponds to the upper border of the liver.|
The chest (Greek: θώραξ
Chest anatomy - humans and other hominids
Template:Prose In hominids, the chest is the region of the body between the neck and the abdomen, along with its internal organs and other contents. It is mostly protected and supported by the ribcage, spine, and shoulder girdle. Contents of the chest include the following:
- major and minor pectoral muscles
- trapezius muscles and neck
- internal structures
- arteries and veins
- the shoulder socket containing the upper part of the humerus
- thoracic portion of the spine
- Floating ribs
- external structures
- thoracic abdomen (stomach, kidney/adrenal, pancreas, spleen, and lower oesophagus)
In humans, the portion of the chest protected by the ribcage is also called the thorax.
Different types of diseases or conditions that can be experienced in the chest include pleurisy, flail chest, atelectasis, and the most common condition, chest pain. These conditions can be caused by birth defects, trauma, or in some cases because of heredity. It is important that all conditions are discussed with a physician and not diagnosed to ensure that proper treatment is given. Any condition that lowers the ability to breathe deeply or decreases a persons ability to cough is considered a chest disease or condition.
Chest pain can be the result of multiple issues including respiratory problems, digestive issues, musculoskeletal complications. The pain can trigger cardiac issues as well. Not all pain that is felt is associated with the heart, but it should not be taken lightly either. Symptoms can be different depending on the cause of the pain. While cardiac issues cause feelings of sudden pressure in the chest or a crushing pain in the back, neck and arms, pain that is felt due to non cardiac issues gives a burning feeling along the digestive tract or pain when deep breaths are attempted. It is important to understand that pains will be felt differently for each person even if they are experiencing the same condition. Only a patient will truly know if the symptoms are something mild or serious.
Chest pain may be a symptom of myocardial infarctions. If this condition is present in the body, discomfort will be felt in the chest that is similar to a heavy weight being placed on the body. Sweating, shortness of breath, lightheadedness, and irregular heartbeat can also be experienced. If heart attack occurs, the bulk of damage is caused during the first six hours, so getting the proper treatment quickly as possible is important. Some people, especially those who are elderly or have diabetes, may not have typical chest pain but may have many of the other symptoms of a heart attack. It is important that these patients and their care givers have a good understanding of heart attack symptoms.
Non cardiac causes of chest pain
Just like with a heart attack, not all chest pain is suffered because of a condition involving the heart. Chest wall pain can be experienced after an increase in activity. Persons who add exercise to their daily routine generally feel this type of pain at the beginning. It is important to monitor the pain to ensure that it is not a sign of something more serious. Pain can also be experienced in persons who have an upper respiratory infection. This virus will also be accompanied by fever and cough. Shingles is another viral infection that can give symptoms of chest or rib pain before a rash develops. Injuries to the rib cage or sternum is also a common cause of chest pain. It is generally felt when deep breaths are taken or during cough.
Another non cardiac cause of chest pain is atelectasis. It is a condition that suffered when a portion of the lung collapses from being airless. When bronchial tubes are blocked, this condition develops and will cause patients to feel a shortness of breath. The most common cause of atelectasis is when a bronchi that extends from the windpipe is blocked and traps air. The blockage may be caused by something inside the bronchus, such as a plug of mucus, a tumour, or an inhaled foreign object such as a coin, piece of food, or a toy. It is possible for something outside of the bronchus to cause the blockage.
Pneumothorax is the condition where air or gas can build up in the pleural space. It can occur without a known cause or as the result of a lung disease or acute lung injury. The size of the pneumothorax will change as liquid builds up, so a medical procedure can be used to drain the liquid with a needle. If it is untreated, blood flow can be interrupted and cause a drop in blood pressure known as tension pneumothorax. It is possible for smaller cases to clear up on their own. Symptoms of this condition are often felt only on one side of the lung or as a shortness of breath.
Cancer of the lung
Cancer that forms in tissues of the lung, usually in the cells lining air passages. In 50% of patients who smoke, the cause for lung cancer is 80%-90% tobacco use. Other causes of lung cancer include secondhand smoke, air pollution, asbestos, and lung diseases like tuberculosis (TB) and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Cancer occurs when normal cells undergo a transformation that causes them to grow and multiply without the normal controls. Symptoms include persistent cough, hemoptysis, and chest pain. Many chest disease are experienced by a person diagnosed with lung cancer and should not be taken lightly. Proper treatment of the underlying cause or new ailments will help with the treatment of the cancer.
- MeSH Thorax
- aocd.org > Dermatology Polymorphous Light Eruption American Osteopathic College of Dermatology. Retrieved on Feb 11, 2010
- Shahani, Rohit, MD. (2005). Penetrating Chest Trauma. eMedicine. Retrieved 2005-02-05.
- Chest Diseases Retrieved on 2010-1-26
- Atelectasis Lung and Airway Disorders. Retrieved on 2010-1-26
- Pleurisy Lung Diseases. Retrieved on 2010-1-26
- Lung Cancer Cancer.Gov. Retrieved on 2010-1-26
- eMedicineHealth.com Lung Cancer Symptoms, Causes, Treatment, Stages and Prevention. Retrieved on 2010-1-26
| Chests (human torso)]]
Template:Muscles of thorax and back Template:Thoracic lymph nodes