Classification and external resources
ICD-10 J98.5
ICD-9 519.2
DiseasesDB 7909
MedlinePlus 000081
eMedicine med/2798
MeSH D008480

Mediastinitis is inflammation of the tissues in the mid-chest, or mediastinum. It can be either acute or chronic.

Acute mediastinitis is usually bacterial and due to rupture of organs in the mediastinum. As the infection can progress rapidly, this is considered a serious condition. Chronic sclerosing (or fibrosing) mediastinitis, while potentially serious, is caused by a long-standing inflammation of the mediastinum, leading to growth of acellular collagen and fibrous tissue within the chest and around the central vessels and airways. It has a different cause, treatment, and prognosis than acute infectious mediastinitis.


Causes and treatment


Before the development of modern cardiovascular surgery, cases of acute mediastinitis usually arose from either perforation of the esophagus or from contiguous spread of odontogenic or retropharyngeal infections. However, in modern practice, most cases of acute mediastinitis result from complications of cardiovascular or endoscopic surgical procedures.

Treatment usually involves aggressive intravenous antibiotic therapy and hydration. If discrete fluid collections (such as abscesses) or grossly infected tissue have formed, they may have to be surgically drained or debrided.


Chronic mediastinitis is usually a radiologic diagnosis manifested by diffuse fibrosis of the soft tissues of the mediastinum. This is sometimes the consequence of prior granulomatous disease, most commonly histoplasmosis. Other identifiable causes include tuberculosis and radiation therapy. Fibrosing mediastinitis most frequently causes problems by constricting blood vessels or airways in the mediastinum. This may result in such complications as superior vena cava syndrome or pulmonary edema from compression of pulmonary veins.

Treatment for chronic fibrosing mediastinitis is somewhat controversial, and may include steroids or surgical decompression of affected vessels.

External links

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Look at other dictionaries:

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  • Mediastinitis — Klassifikation nach ICD 10 J98.5 Mediastinitis …   Deutsch Wikipedia

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  • mediastinitis — Inflammation of the cellular tissue of the mediastinum. fibrosing m. SYN: mediastinal fibrosis. fibrous m. scarring of mediastinal structures of unknown origin or due to infection. idiopathic …   Medical dictionary

  • mediastinitis — n. inflammation of the midline partition of the chest cavity (mediastinum), usually complicating a rupture of the oesophagus (gullet). Sclerosing mediastinitis often leads to fibrosis, which may cause compression of other structures in the thorax …   The new mediacal dictionary

  • mediastinitis — noun Inflammation of the mediastinum …   Wiktionary

  • Mediastinitis — Media|stini̱tis w; , ...iti̱den (in fachspr. Fügungen: ...i̱tides): Entzündung des Mittelfells …   Das Wörterbuch medizinischer Fachausdrücke

  • Mediastinitis — Me|di|as|ti|ni|tis* die; , ...itiden <zu ↑...itis> Entzündung des Bindegewebes im Mediastinum (Med.) …   Das große Fremdwörterbuch

  • mediastinitis — me·di·as·ti·ni·tis …   English syllables

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