USMLE

Airway Anatomy

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Respiratory
  1. Respiratory Overview
  2. Airway Anatomy
  3. Alveoli
  4. Breathing Mechanics
  5. Gas Exchange in Tissues
  6. Nervous Control of Breathing
  7. Respiratory Defense Systems
  • Respiratory Airway
    • Path of airflow during inspiration
      • → Pharynx (throat)
        • passageway for food and air
      • → Larynx (voicebox)
        • Contains vocal cords 
        • Entrance covered by epiglottis, a small piece of tissue that automatically closes when swallowing to prevent food/drink from entering airway 
      • → Trachea (windpipe)
        • main airway 
        • Composed of ringed cartilage covered by ciliated mucous cells
      • → Bronchi & Bronchioles 
        • Trachea branches into left and right bronchi before entering two lungs
        • Each bronchus then branches many times to become bronchioles
        • Called bronchial tree, as branching resembles upside-down tree
      • → Alveoli
        • Bronchioles terminate in grape-like clusters called alveolar sacs, composed of alveoli
        • Wrapped in capillaries