Thoracic duct

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Definition

noun, plural: thoracic ducts

The lymphatic duct through which lymph from most of the peripheral lymph nodes drains, and also through which the recirculating lymphocytes that have left the circulation in the lymph node return to the blood


Supplement

In human lymphatic system, the biological system is mainly comprised of lymphatic vessels, lymph nodes, and lymphatic tissues. The lymphatic vessels are the channels that carry lymph, the clear alkaline fluid. The lymphatic vessels include the lymph capillaries, the collecting (contractile) lymph vessels, and the lymphatic ducts. The lymphatic ducts are the channels in the lymphatic system that convey lymph into the subclavian vein consequently returning the lymph to the venous circulation. In humans, there are two lymphatic ducts: (1) right lymphatic duct and (2) thoracic duct. The right lymphatic duct drains lymph fluid from the upper right section of the trunk, the right arm, and the ride side of the head and neck. The rest of the body is drained by the thoracic duct.

The thoracic duct is the largest lymphatic vessel in human lymphatic system. It is typically 38 to 45 cm in length and with a diameter of about 5 mm. In particular, it collects lymph from the left side of the body above the diaphragm and all parts below the diaphragm. It particularly conveys chyle, i.e. a bodily fluid consisting of lymph and emulsified fats.


Synonym(s):

  • ductus thoracicus
  • Pecquet duct
  • van Hoorne's canal
  • left lymphatic duct
  • alimentary duct
  • chyliferous duct

See also: