Diseases & Conditions

Thoracic Anatomy

The thoracic cavity is enclosed by twelve pairs of bones called ribs that are joined together in the front by the sternum (breast bone). This set of ribs (rib cage) is attached at the back to another set of small irregular-shaped bones called spinal column (spine).

Paediatric Heart & Lung Diseases

Heart disease rarely occurs in children but when it does, it can have serious consequences. Respiratory illnesses however are quite common.

Coronary Artery Disease (Artery Blockage)

Coronary artery disease (CAD) usually occurs when cholesterol and plaque accumulate inside the coronary arteries (blood vessels supplying oxygen-rich blood to heart muscles) and blocking the flow of oxygen-rich blood to the heart muscles. The plaque can sometimes rupture and form a blood clot that can completely block the vessel, leading to a heart attack and possible permanent heart damage.

Congestive Heart Failure (Ineffective Heart Muscle)

Heart failure is a condition where the heart fails to pump blood adequately enough to maintain the metabolic needs of the body. In most cases, heart failure is a chronic, long-standing and on-going condition but it can develop suddenly.

Valvular Insufficiency (Leaking or Regurgitation)

Valvular insufficiency is a cardiac disease characterized by the failure of one or more of the heart valves to close perfectly resulting blood flowing backwards across the valve (valvular regurgitation or leaking).

Valvular Stenosis (Blocked or Narrowed Valves)

Valvular stenosis (heart valve narrowing) occurs when one or more heart valves is narrowed, stiffened, thickened or blocked. When this happens, the heart will have to work hard to pump blood across the narrowed valve. If not treated, this may develop into heart failure.

Thoracic Aortic Aneurysm (Stretched Aorta in the Chest)

The thoracic aorta is found in the chest (in between the neck and the diaphragm). It is connected to the outlet of the left ventricle (left chamber of the heart), it arches over the left side of the airway and descends along the spine in the left chest to enter the abdomen through the diaphragm to become the abdominal aorta.

Atrial Fibrillation

Atrial Fibrillation is the most common type of disorder of your heart rate or rhythm. It occurs when disorganised electrical signals cause the atria (heart's two upper chambers) to contract very rapidly and irregularly. As a result, the blood is not pumped completely into the ventricles (heart's two lower chambers) and collects in the atria. The atria and ventricles therefore do not contract in a coordinated manner resulting in either too much or not enough blood being sent from the heart to the body.

Lung Cancer

Cancer is a disease that results from abnormal growth and division of cells that make up the body's tissues and organs.

Under normal circumstances, cells reproduce in an orderly fashion to replace old cells, maintain tissue health and repair injuries. However, when growth control is lost and cells divide too much and too fast, a cellular mass -or "tumour" -is formed.

Pleural Effusion

A pleural effusion is the accumulation of fluid in the space between the lungs and the chest wall.


A pneumothorax is a collapsed lung. Pneumothorax occurs when air leaks into the space between your lungs and chest wall. This air pushes on the outside of your lung and makes it collapse. In most cases, only a portion of the lung collapses.


Mesothelioma is a form of cancer that affects the mesothelium, the thin lining of the cavities of the body (thoracic, pericardial and abdominal cavities) and the protective outer coating of the organs lodged in these cavities (the lungs in the thoracic cavity, the heart in the pericardial cavity and the abdominal organs in the abdominal cavity). Mesothelium also covers the male and female internal reproductive organs.

  • The Children's Hospital at Westmead
  • Heart Centre for Children- The Children's Hospital at Westmead
  • Sydney Children's Hospital Randwick
  • Westmead Hospital
  • Westmead Private Hospital
  • Royal Australasian College of Surgeons
  • International Society for Heart and Lung Transplantation
  • Sydney Adventist Hospital
  • Healing Little Hearts