Vagus nerve
A remarkable nerve that supplies nerve fibers to the pharynx (throat), larynx (voice box), trachea (windpipe), lungs, heart, esophagus, and the intestinal tract as far as the transverse portion of the colon. The vagus nerve also brings sensory information back to the brain from the ear, tongue, pharynx, and larynx. The vagus nerve is the tenth cranial nerve. It originates in the medulla oblongata, a part of the brain stem, and wanders all the way down from the brainstem to the colon. Complete interruption of the vagus nerve causes a characteristic syndrome. The back part of the palate (the soft palate) droops on that side. The capacity to gag (the gag reflex) is also lost on that side. The voice is hoarse and nasal. The vocal cord on the affected side is immobile. The result is dysphagia and dysphonia (trouble swallowing and trouble speaking). One of the best known branches of the vagus nerve is the recurrent laryngeal nerve. After leaving the vagus nerve, the recurrent laryngeal nerve goes down into the chest and then loops back up to supply the larynx (the voice box). Damage to the recurrent laryngeal nerve can result from diseases inside the chest (intrathoracic diseases) such as a tumor or an aneurysm (ballooning) of the arch of the aorta or of the left atrium of the heart. The consequence is laryngeal palsy, paralysis of the larynx (the voice box), on the affected side. Laryngeal palsy can also be caused by damage to the vagus nerve before it gives off the recurrent laryngeal nerve. The term "vagus" (Latin for "wandering") is apt because the vagus nerve wanders all the way down from the brainstem to the colon, a long wandering way.

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vagus nerve n either of the tenth pair of cranial nerves that arise from the medulla and supply chiefly the viscera esp. with autonomic sensory and motor fibers called also pneumogastric nerve, tenth cranial nerve, vagus

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the tenth cranial nerves (X), which supplies motor nerve fibres to the muscles of swallowing and parasympathetic fibres to the heart and organs of the chest cavity and abdomen. Sensory branches of the vagus carry impulses from the viscera and the sensation of taste from the mouth.

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nervus vagus.

Medical dictionary. 2011.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Vagus nerve — Nerve: Vagus nerve Plan of upper portions of glossopharyngeal, vagus, and accessory nerves. Course …   Wikipedia

  • vagus nerve — pl. vagus nerves. Anat. either one of the tenth pair of cranial nerves, consisting of motor fibers that innervate the muscles of the pharynx, larynx, heart, and thoracic and abdominal viscera, and of sensory fibers that conduct impulses from… …   Universalium

  • vagus nerve — noun a mixed nerve that supplies the pharynx and larynx and lungs and heart and esophagus and stomach and most of the abdominal viscera • Syn: ↑vagus, ↑nervus vagus, ↑pneumogastric, ↑pneumogastric nerve, ↑tenth cranial nerve, ↑wandering nerve •… …   Useful english dictionary

  • vagus nerve — noun Either of the tenth pair of cranial nerves, which extends from the brainstem down into the abdomen. Branches of these important nerves supply the tongue, larynx, lungs, gut, and heart. Syn: nervus vagus, pneumogastric nerve, tenth cranial… …   Wiktionary

  • vagus nerve — noun Etymology: New Latin vagus nervus, literally, wandering nerve Date: 1856 either of the 10th pair of cranial nerves that arise from the medulla and supply chiefly the viscera especially with autonomic sensory and motor fibers called also… …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • vagus nerve — the tenth cranial nerve (X), which supplies motor nerve fibres to the muscles of swallowing and parasympathetic fibres to the heart and organs of the chest cavity and abdomen. Sensory branches of the vagus carry impulses from the viscera and the… …   The new mediacal dictionary

  • vagus nerve — /ˈveɪgəs nɜv/ (say vayguhs nerv) noun either of two cranial nerves extending through the neck into the thorax and the upper part of the abdomen; a pneumogastric nerve. {vagus from Latin: wandering} …   Australian English dictionary

  • vagus nerve —    Also called the pneumogastric nerve, this is the tenth cranial nerve, with many fibers leading to parasympathetic ganglia in internal organs, and can be considered the presynapse starter for the upper parts of the parasympathetic functions …   Herbal-medical glossary

  • vagus nerve — the Xth cranial nerve, sensory to pharynx, oesophagus, thoracic and abdominal viscera. innervates pharyngeal musculature, visceral musculature, trunk lateral line, visceral arches behind third, respiratory movement. See cranial nerves …   Dictionary of ichthyology

  • vagus nerve — one of the nerves that relays signals to the brain …   English contemporary dictionary

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