Respiratory System I. Lungs and Air Passages



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Respiratory System
I. Lungs and Air Passages

A. Nose, mouth, pharynx, epiglottis, larynx, trachea, (upper respiratory tract)
bronchi, bronchioles, alveoli and lungs


B. Responsible for

1. Taking in O2 (needed by all body cells)

2. Removing CO2 (metabolic waste product)

C. Body has 4-6 minute supply of O2

D. Must work continuously or death will occur

(Respiratory Therapists say, “When you aren’t breathing, nothing else matters!”)



II. Nose


A. Has 2 nostrils or nares

1. Openings through which air enters

B. Nasal septum

1. Partition or wall of cartilage

2. Divides the nose into 2 hollow spaces called nasal cavities


III. Nasal Cavities

A. Lined with mucous membrane

B. Rich blood supply

C. As air enters it is warmed, filtered and moistened

D. Mucous also helps trap pathogens and dirt

E. Cilia: tiny hair-like structures which also trap dirt and pathogens, pushing them toward the esophagus to be swallowed

F. Olfactory receptors for the sense of smell

G. Nasolacrimal ducts drain tears from the eye into the nose to provide additional moisture for the air
IV. Paranasal Sinuses

A. Hollow air-containing spaces within the skull

B. Cavities in the skull around the nasal area

C. Connected to the nasal cavity by short ducts

D. Lined with mucous membrane that warms and moistens air

E. Provide resonance for the voice

V. Pharynx

A. The throat

B. Lies directly behind the nasal cavities

C. As air leaves the nose it enters the pharynx

D. Has three sections

1. Nasopharynx

a. Upper portion behind the nasal cavities

b. Contain the pharyngeal tonsils or adenoids

(lymphatic tissue) and the auditory (eustachian)

tube openings

2. Oropharynx

a. Middle section located behind the oral cavity

b. Contains the palatine tonsils (two rounded

masses of lymphatic tissue)

c. Received both air from the nasopharynx and food and air from the mouth

3. Laryngopharynx

a. Bottom section of the pharynx

b. Branches into the trachea, which carries air to

and from the lungs, and the esophagus – the

tube that carries food to the stomach

c. Also known as the voice box


VI. Epiglottis

A. A flap of cartilage attached to the root of the tongue

B. Prevents choking or aspiration of food

C. Acts as a lid over the opening of the larynx

D. During swallowing when food and liquid move through the throat, the epiglottis closes over the larynx
VII. Larynx

A. Voice box

B. Lies between the pharynx and trachea

C. Has a framework of cartilage commonly called the “Adam’s apple”

(Adam's apples are found on both women and men they just show up more prominently in men as a chunk of bony cartilage that's wrapped around the larynx. Also known as the laryngeal prominence, the Adam's apple sits right on top of the thyroid gland, so the area is fittingly called the thyroid cartilage)

D. Contains two folds called vocal cords

1. Opening between the vocal cords is the glottis

2. As air leaves the lungs, the vocal cords vibrate and produce sound

3. Tongue and lips act on the sound to produce speech
VIII. Trachea

A. Windpipe

B. Tube extending from the larynx to the center of the chest (about 4.5” long)

C. Carries air between the pharynx and bronchi

D. Series of c-shaped cartilages, which are open on the dorsal or back surface, and help keep the trachea open


IX. Bronchi

A. Two divisions of the trachea near the center of the chest

1. Right and left bronchus (singular)

2. Right bronchus is shorter, wider and extends more vertically than the left bronchus

B. Each bronchus enters a lung and carries air from the trachea to the lungs

C. In the lungs, the bronchi continue to divide into smaller and smaller bronchi




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