While an extraordinary variety of cysts and neoplasms occur in the mediastinum, their discovery in children is an unusual event. During the period 1930-1955 only 14 cases of primary mediastinal cysts and tumors were reported at Duke Hospital in the pediatric age group (birth to 14 years). Then, within two months, three cases of primary mediastinal cysts were detected. These cases are not only infrequent in their occurrence but present similar appearances on conventional roentgenograph examination of the chest. We would like to review the general types of neoplasms and cysts presenting in the mediastinum of children and to discuss in detail our three new cases.
The differential diagnosis of mediastinal masses is based on a system of probability and anatomical location. For purposes of localization we have defined the mediastinum, in its simplest conventional terms, as the space between the two pleural cavities, extending from the upper