Reliability of Poirier's triangle in localizing the thoracic duct in the thorax

R. Shane Tubbs, Nima Noordeh, Abhisek Parmar, Ayhan Cömert, Marios Loukas, Mohammadali M. Shoja, Aaron A. Cohen-Gadol

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Purpose: Preemptive ligation of the thoracic duct (TD) is occasionally performed during cardiothoracic procedures to prevent chylothorax. Landmarks for localizing this structure are thus important to the surgeon during such procedures. One historically used area for identifying this structure in the thorax is Poirier's triangle. The present paper aimed to investigate the relationship of the TD to Poirier's triangle. Methods: We evaluated the use of this geometric area in localizing the TD in 35 adult cadavers. Results: Poirier's triangle was found in all specimens, but the TD was found within the confines of Poirier's triangle in only 17 specimens (45.7%). When not identified in Poirier's triangle, the regional TD was often (28.6%) seen in the interval between the proximal left subclavian and left common carotid arteries. Conclusions: These data may be of use to the surgeon when identifying the proximal TD within the thorax.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)757-760
Number of pages4
JournalSurgical and Radiologic Anatomy
Issue number8
StatePublished - Oct 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Anatomy
  • Chest
  • Complications
  • Lymphatics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy
  • Surgery
  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


Dive into the research topics of 'Reliability of Poirier's triangle in localizing the thoracic duct in the thorax'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this