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pertaining to the chest (thorax); called also pectoral.
thoracic outlet syndrome compression of the brachial plexus nerve trunks and subclavian vessels, with pain in the upper limbs, paresthesia of fingers, vasomotor symptoms, and weakness and wasting of small muscles of the hand; it may be caused by drooping shoulder girdle, a cervical rib (cervical rib syndrome) or fibrous band, an abnormal first rib, continual hyperabduction of the arm (as during sleep), or compression of the edge of the scalenus anterior muscle.
thoracic surgery surgical procedures involving entrance into the chest cavity. Until techniques for endotracheal anesthesia were perfected, this type of surgery was extremely dangerous because of the possibility of lung collapse. By administering anesthesia under pressure through an endotracheal tube it is now possible to keep one or both lungs expanded, even when they are subjected to atmospheric pressure. Thoracic surgery includes procedures involving the lungs, heart, and great vessels, as well as tracheal resection, esophagogastrectomy, and repair of hiatal hernia. In order to give intelligent care to the patient before and after surgery, one must have adequate knowledge of the anatomy and physiology of the chest and thoracic cavity. It is especially important to know the difference in pressures within and outside the thoracic cavity. (See also discussion of Mechanics of Inflation and Deflation, under lung.)
Patient Care. Prior to surgery the care of the patient will depend on the specific operation to be done and the particular disorder requiring surgery. In general, the patient should be given an explanation of the operative procedure anticipated and the type of equipment that will be used in the postoperative period. The patient will be taught the proper method of coughing to remove secretions accumulated in the lungs. Although coughing may be painful in the immediate postoperative period and may require analgesic medication to relieve the discomfort, if the patient understands the need for coughing up the secretions he or she will be more cooperative. Special exercises may be given to preserve muscular action of the shoulder on the affected side and to maintain proper alignment of the upper portion of his or her body and arm. Usually the physical therapist supervises these exercises, but the nursing staff must coordinate them with other aspects of patient care.

Narcotics are rarely given before thoracic surgery because they can depress respiration. Usually the preoperative medication is atropine in combination with a barbiturate.

The development of intensive care units has sharply improved the care of the post-thoracotomy patient. The availability of monitors, ventilators, and special assist devices has increased not only the safety of the operation but also the comfort of the patient. Many patients return from the operating room with endotracheal tubes still in place, ventilated by machines, and monitored with such special equipment as Swan-Ganz catheters for observation of cardiac output, oxygenation, and level of hydration.

During the postoperative period, alteration in respiratory status is a major potential problem for patients having thoracic surgery. Impaired gas exchange can result from atelectasis, pneumothorax, mediastinal shift, bronchopulmonary fistula, pneumonia, pleural effusion, pulmonary edema, narcotics, or abdominal distention. To identify any change in respiratory status, the patient's arterial blood gases are serially monitored, breath sounds are auscultated, and the rate and character of respirations are assessed. To facilitate removal of obstructive mucus and other secretions in the air passages the patient is encouraged to deep breathe and cough every one to two hours. Chest physical therapy may be ordered to help mobilize the secretions so that they are more easily coughed up. The amount and character of sputum is noted and recorded. If necessary, nasotracheal suctioning may be done to help clear the air passages. Oxygen may be administered to prevent anoxia.

The patient is also periodically assessed for pain, abdominal distention, and alteration in cardiac function related to decreased cardiac output, arrhythmias, or cardiac tamponade. If the pericardial sac becomes filled with fluid and produces an acute cardiac tamponade, an emergency pericardiocentesis may be necessary.

Almost all patients having thoracic surgery will have chest tubes. (One exception is the patient who has had a lung removed. In this case fluid is deliberately allowed to accumulate in the pleural space to prevent mediastinal shift.) Chest tubes are attached to closed drainage systems to avoid pneumothorax and allow for drainage of the pleural space and gradual reexpansion of the lung. (See chest tube for care.)

As the operative site heals and the lung expands, the chest tubes can be safely removed. After their removal an airtight bandage is applied to the area. As a precaution against leakage of air into the chest cavity, the physician may apply petrolatum to the edges of the wound before applying the dressing.


Relating to the thorax.
Synonym(s): thoracal


Of, relating to, or situated in or near the thorax: the thoracic vertebrae; thoracic appendages.

tho·rac′i·cal·ly adv.


adjective Pertaining to the chest.


 adjective Pertaining to the chest


Relating to the thorax.


Pertaining to the chest.


Refers to the chest area. The thorax runs between the abdomen and neck and is encased in the ribs.

Patient discussion about thoracic

Q. My mother had a chest pain and she was sent for a TEE. When do you need a TEE and when a normal echo is fine? My mother had a chest pain few weeks ago. we were sure its a heart attack and went to the ER. There the doctors did some tests and she was sent for a (trans thoracic echocardiogram) TEE. I want to know when do you need a TEE and when you can do just a normal echocardiogram because the TEE was very painful for her and we want to know if ther was a better way.

A. The main difference between TEE and normal echo is that in TEE u put the transducer directly in the esophagus. The transducer is the same and the idea is to put it as close as possible to the heart.
As far as I know there are some heart situations the TEE is better for diagnosis that normal echo. Maybe your mom had one of those situations?
I can recommend you to ask the ER doctor. he will probably be able to give a better explanation for his choice

More discussions about thoracic
References in periodicals archive ?
Closed thoracic drainage based o central venous catheter: The patient took sitting position.
These findings also proved that femoral CVP appeared as a reliable alternative to thoracic CVP in contrast to popular belief of most of our staff.
"At our center, we routinely recommend patients with thoracic aortic aneurysm visit a clinical geneticist and have all first-degree relatives screened if there is a suggestion of a family history," says Dr.
Inclusion criteria were being older than 18 years and in American Society of Anesthesiologists I-II risk groups, having a visual analog scale score >4 points, having resistant symptoms despite facet joint blockade, thoracic epidural steroid injection, physical therapy, muscle relaxant, or anti-inflammatory treatments for at least 3 months.
Len Richards, chief executive of Cardiff and Vale UHB, said there were "very few dissenting voices" raised during consultations about the idea of a single thoracic centre, but its proposed location and its relationship with the major trauma centre was a significant issue raised.
She said: "Unfortunately the intimate link between the proposed major trauma centre and a single thoracic centre at Morriston 42 miles away will impact on patient safety and makes this decision contentious."
After the CT imaging and 3D reconstruction were completed, silicone plastination method was carried out for thoracic cavity of same individulas.
On the 5th day, thoracic drain was terminated, and patient was discharged on the 7th day.
At present, Astaphil has 32 members who have completed and passed the rigorous fellowship training in thoracic anesthesiology at the Lung Center of the Philippines.
Currently, thoracic surgery is provided at University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff as well as Morriston - but this could be moved out of the capital following recommendation from an independent panel.
US-based Eli Lilly and Company (NYSE: LLY) announced yesterday that Leena Gandhi, MD, PhD, a thoracic oncologist with a focus on immunotherapy and early drug development, will join Lilly Oncology on 25 June 2018 to lead immuno-oncology medical development.