Phrenic nerve

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Definition

The phrenic nerve originates between the third and fifth cervical vertebra. On both sides of the body, a phrenic nerve descends along the thorax, past the mediastinal pleura that surrounds the lungs and pericardium, before reaching the diaphragm. Thus, there are two phrenic nerves. The right nerve descends between the pleura and pericardium while the left nerve bypasses the apex of the heart. The phrenic nerve intervenes in the process of respiration, promoting contractions and decontractions of the diaphragm. It is these nerves that are involved in hiccupping.

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