The tracheobronchial lymph nodes are the group of nodes formed from the convergence of bronchial nodes within the hila of the lungs. Superficial to the trachea, they extend medially to the carina and then superiorly to the inferior part of the thoracic trachea. During their ascent of the trachea, they overlap with, and supply efferent fibres to, the tracheal group of nodes. Individual groups of nodes are connected to each other by fine efferent lymphatic channels.
The tracheobronchial nodes can be divided into lateral and inferior groups. Ultimately, lymph from the tracheobronchial nodes travels superiorly via the bronchomediastinal trunks.
The bronchial nodes and tracheobronchial nodes are the groups which are frequently enlarged in pathology of the lung; together, they constitute the hilar nodes which may be visible radiographically as classical hilar lymphadenopathy.
The tracheobronchial lymph nodes form four main groups:
(a) tracheal, on either side of the trachea; (b) bronchial, in the angles between the lower part of the trachea and bronchi and in the angle between the two bronchi; © bronchopulmonary, in the hilus of each lung; and (d) pulmonary, in the lung substance, on the larger branches of the bronchi. The afferents of the tracheobronchial glands drain the lungs and bronchi, the thoracic part of the trachea and the heart; some of the efferents of the posterior mediastinal glands also end in this group.
Their efferent vessels ascend upon the trachea and unite with efferents of the internal mammary and anterior mediastinal glands to form the right and left bronchomediastinal trunks.