Bronchomediastinal trunk

Last revised by Daniel J Bell on 19 Jun 2021

The bronchomediastinal trunks (a.k.a. bronchomediastinal lymphatic trunks) are lymphatic trunks, one on each side of the body. On the left, the bronchomediastinal trunk is a tributary of the thoracic duct, and on the right, it is a tributary of the right lymphatic duct. Although, in some individuals, the bronchomediastinal trunks drain directly into their respective brachiocephalic veins 1

The bronchomediastinal trunks are partially responsible for returning lymph to the systemic circulation from thoracic structures, for example the lungs.

Valves have been identified close to the junction between the bronchomediastinal trunks and the thoracic duct which are thought to prevent retrograde flow of the lymph 4.

Related pathology

There is much interest in the potential for the bronchomediastinal trunks to act as a retrograde route for metastatic cells passing from the thoracic duct back to the mediastinal nodes 4

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