Normal mediastinal lymph nodes: number and size according to American Thoracic Society mapping

AJR Am J Roentgenol. 1985 Feb;144(2):261-5. doi: 10.2214/ajr.144.2.261.


CT was used to investigate the number and size of normal mediastinal lymph nodes at 11 intrathoracic nodal stations defined by the American Thoracic Society lymph-node mapping scheme. Nodal size was measured both as short- and long-axis diameters in the transverse plane. Findings for 56 patients show the largest normal mediastinal nodes to be in the subcarinal and right tracheobronchial regions. Upper paratracheal nodes were smaller than lower paratracheal or tracheobronchial nodes, and right-sided tracheobronchial nodes were larger than left-sided ones. From the distributions of node sizes, thresholds were set above which nodes in any region might be considered enlarged. These thresholds, in agreement with a prior investigation of patients with lung cancer, suggest 1.0 cm as the upper limit of normal for the short axis of a mediastinal node in the transverse plane.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lymph Nodes / anatomy & histology
  • Lymph Nodes / diagnostic imaging*
  • Male
  • Mediastinum / anatomy & histology
  • Mediastinum / diagnostic imaging*
  • Middle Aged
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed