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Lymphatics of the heart

Learning outcomes

Working through this study unit will allow you to:

  1. Learn about the main lymphatic vessels of the heart.
  2. Identify the lymph nodes associated with the lymphatic drainage of the heart.

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Like the other organs in our body, the heart also needs to have interstitial fluid drained from its tissues. Small lymphatic vessels of the heart form three plexuses: the subendocardiac plexus, the myocardiac plexus and the subepicardiac plexus. The subendocardiac and myocardiac plexus drain into the subepicardiac plexus, which in turn gives rise to the right and left coronary lymphatic trunks (or cardiac collecting trunks) which drain the right and left sides of the heart, respectively.

Curious about the lymphatic drainage of the heart? Check our video below to know more about this topic!

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Have you learned everything about the lymphatics of the heart? Check your knowledge with our quiz below!

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Browse atlas

Take a closer look at the lymph nodes and vessels of the heart in the gallery below.


Key points about the lymphatics of the heart
Lymphatic plexuses of the heart Subendocardiac plexus: Drains into subepicardial plexus
Myocardiac plexus
: Drains into subepicardial plexus
Subepicardiac plexus
: Efferents form the right and left coronary trunks
Right coronary trunk Drains: Right atrium, right border of heart and inferior (diaphragmatic) surface of right ventricle
Empties into
: Brachiocephalic lymph nodes (usually on the left) → thoracic duct
Left coronary trunk Drains: Regions of right and left ventricles around anterior interventricular groove, as well as inferior (diaphragmatic) surface of left ventricle
Empties into
: Inferior tracheobronchial lymph nodes → right lymphatic duct

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