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I have a friend who went into hospital few days ago. I was so much worried for him when his mother told me his diagnosis. She told me he suffers of mediastinitis, which should involve inflammation of the mediastinum as I could evaluate. I know only that is the cavity between the lungs, and nothing else. That is why I would like to ask, what you could tell me about mediastinitis and I should know.

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The mediastinum is cavity between the lungs that contains the heart, the large vessels, the trachea, the esophagus, the thymus, and connective tissues. Mediastinitis may occur suddenly acute or may develop slowly, progressing over time. The majority of cases of mediastinits occur in patients who have had open chest surgery. This complication occurs in less than 5 percent of all patients who have any kind of chest surgery. Patients who have a tear in their esophagus may also develop this problem called mediastinitis. Chronic or slowly developing mediastinitis may arise from tuberculosis, histoplasmosis, other fungal infections, or cancer. Risk factors include recent chest surgery or endoscopy, as I already said, problems in the upper gastrointestinal tract, and having an impaired immune system. Signs and symptoms of mediastinitis include chest wall tenderness, wound drainage, and an unstable chest wall in patients who have had recent surgery. A chest x-ray may show a widened mediastinum. It is easier to show disease caused by the collection of inflammatory cells within the chest. Often patients with mediastinitis must undergo surgery to remove the area of inflammation.
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