Chapter 1 - Functional anatomy of the respiratory tract
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Publisher SummaryThis chapter explains the functional anatomy of the respiratory tract. The structural aspects of the function of the muscles of the mouth and pharynx are best considered in relation to a paramedian sagittal. The occlusion of the larynx is achieved in various stages ranging from whisper to speech with varying degrees of approximation of the vocal folds. The tighter occlusion can, however, be achieved for the purpose of making expulsive efforts. The trachea bifurcates asymmetrically, with the right bronchus being wider and making a smaller angle with the long axis of the trachea. It is, thus, more likely to receive foreign bodies. The main, lobar and segmental bronchi have firm cartilaginous support in their walls, U-shaped in the main bronchi but in the form of irregularly shaped and helical plates lower down. Where the cartilage is in the form of irregular plates, the bronchial muscle takes the form of helical bands that form a geodesic network. The bronchial epithelium is similar to that in the trachea, although the height of the cells gradually diminishes in the more peripheral passages until it becomes cuboidal in the bronchioles.

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