Mediastinal mass | Medical Council of Canada
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Mediastinal mass

Version: February 2017
Legacy ID: 54-1


Mediastinal masses that are found on X-ray are classified according to location. Location within the mediastinum is important for identifying the cause.

Causal Conditions

(list not exhaustive)

  1. Anterior
    1. Tumours (e.g., thymoma, lymphoma)
    2. Other (e.g., aneurysm)
  2. Middle
    1. Tumours (e.g., bronchogenic cancer)
    2. Other (e.g., sarcoidosis)
  3. Posterior
    1. Tumours (e.g., esophageal cancer)
    2. Other (e.g., hiatal hernia)

Key Objectives

Given a patient with a mediastinal mass, the candidate will diagnose the cause, severity, and complications, and will initiate an appropriate management plan, in particular, differentiate between causes based on compartment location.

Enabling Objectives

Given a patient with mediastinal mass, the candidate will

  1. list and interpret critical clinical findings, including
    1. an appropriate history and physical examination to help determine the most likely cause;
  2. list and interpret relevant investigations, including
    1. laboratory and radiological investigations;
  3. construct an effective initial management plan, including:
    1. determining if the patient requires further investigation;
    2. referral of the patient for specialized diagnostic tests and treatment, if necessary;
    3. counselling and education of the patient regarding the nature and scope of needed investigations.