The Respiratory System

Topics: Respiratory system, Mucus, Lung Pages: 5 (1253 words) Published: April 24, 2011
The Respiratory System
Basic plan of respiratory system would be similar to an inverted tree if it were hollow; leaves of the tree would be comparable to alveoli, with the microscopic sacs enclosed by networks of capillaries (Figure 14-1) Passive transport process of diffusion is responsible for the exchange of gases that occur during respiration.

Upper respiratory tract—nose, pharynx, and larynx Lower respiratory tract—trachea, bronchial tree, and lungs

Specialized membrane that lines the air distribution tubes in the respiratory tree (Figure 14-2) More than 125 mL of mucus produced each day forms a “mucous blanket” over much of the respiratory mucosa Mucus serves as an air purification mechanism by trapping inspired irritants such as dust and pollen Cilia on mucosal cells beat in only one direction, moving mucus upward to pharynx for removal

Nasal septum separates interior of nose into two cavities Mucous membrane lines nose Frontal, maxillary, sphenoidal, and ethmoidal sinuses drain into nose (Figure 14-3)

W arms and moistens inhaled air Contains sense organs of smell

Structure (Figure 14-4)
Pharynx (throat) about 12.5 cm (5 inches) long Divided into nasopharynx, oropharynx, and laryngopharynx Two nasal cavities, mouth, esophagus, larynx, and auditory tubes all have openings into pharynx

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Pharyngeal tonsils and openings of auditory tubes open into nasopharynx; tonsils found in oropharynx Mucous membrane lines pharynx

Passageway for food and liquids Air distribution; passageway for air

Structure (Figure 14-5)
Several pieces of cartilage form framework • Thyroid cartilage (Adam’s apple) is largest • Epiglottis partially covers opening into larynx Mucous lining Vocal cords stretch across interior of larynx

Air distribution; passageway for air to move to and from lungs Voice production

Structure (Figure 14-6)
Tube about 11 cm (4.5 inches) long that extends from larynx into the thoracic cavity Mucous lining C-shaped rings of cartilage hold trachea open

Function—passageway for air to move to and from lungs Obstruction Blockage of trachea occludes the airway, and if blockage is complete, causes death in minutes Tracheal obstruction causes more than 4000 deaths annually in the United States

Trachea branches into right and left bronchi Each bronchus branches into smaller and smaller tubes eventually leading to bronchioles Bronchioles end in clusters of microscopic alveolar sacs, the walls of which are made up of alveoli (Figure 14-7)


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Bronchi and bronchioles—air distribution; passageway for air to move to and from alveoli Alveoli—exchange of gases between air and blood (Figure 14-8)

Structure (Figure 14-9)
Size—large enough to fill the chest cavity, except f or middle space occupied by heart and large blood vessels Apex—narrow upper part of each lung, under collarbone Base—broad lower part of each lung; rests on diaphragm Pleura—moist, smooth, slippery membrane that lines chest cavity and covers outer surf ace of lungs; reduces f riction between the lungs and chest wall during breathing (Figure 14-10)

Function—breathing (pulmonary ventilation)

Mechanics of breathing (Figure 14-11)
Pulmonary ventilation includes two phases called inspiration (movement of air into lungs) and expiration (movement of air out of lungs) Changes in size and shape of thorax cause changes in air pressure within that cavity and in the lungs Air pressure differences actually cause air to move into and out of the lungs

Active process—air moves into lungs Inspiratory muscles include diaphragm and external...
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