Esophageal hiatus

Last revised by Doaa Faris Jabaz on 23 Nov 2022

The esophageal hiatus is the opening in the diaphragm through which the esophagus passes from the thoracic to the abdominal cavity. It is one of three apertures in the diaphragm and is located in the right crus.

It is situated in the muscular part of the diaphragm at the level of T10 and is elliptical in shape. It is located above, in front and a little to the left of the aortic hiatus, slightly to the left of the midline. The vena caval foramen is located to its right (right of the midline) and marginally anterior to it.

It transmits several structures including the esophagus:

The vertebral levels of the 3 main diaphragmatic apertures can be remembered by this mnemonic.

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Cases and figures

  • Figure 1 : diaphragm (undersurface)
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