The thoracic cavity is the chamber of the human body (and other animal bodies) that is enclosed by the ribcage and the diaphragm. It houses
- the lungs,
- the heart,
- the thoracic aorta,
- the main pulmonary artery and its branches,
- the thymus gland,
- the trachea and bronchi and
- the esophagus.
It contains the potential space called the pleural cavity
and the mediastinum.
If the thoracic cavity is breached from the outside, as by a bullet wound or knife wound, a pneumothorax, or air in the cavity, usually results, often leading to one or both lungs collapsing and requiring immediate medical attention.