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respiratory system

moves air into and out of the lungs; site of exchange of O2 and CO2


process of gas exchange between atmosphere and body cells; exchange of O2 and CO2; atmosphere has 21% O


movement of air into and out of lungs


may be a cause of pH imbalance; may help correct pH imbalance created by another cause; acid base balance expels CO2, which is acidic; fluid balance is fluid loss through the lungs; electrolyte balance

respiratory acidosis

occurs when rate or effeciency of respiration decreases, and have accumulation of CO2

respiratory alkalosis

occurs when rate of respiration increases and does not have enough CO2

protection by respiratory system

prevent foreign invasion; traps invaders with mucous and cilia; warms oxygen; reflexes such as cough, sneeze, hiccup and yawn

sound production by respiratory system

movement of air through the vocal cords

medulla oblongata

respiratory control center in the brain along with the pons

phrenic nerve

stimulates diaphragm; main muscle of breathing

CO2 levels

primary regulatory gas; adjust breathing according to CO2 level in blood which causes a lowering of blood's pH


decrease blood O2; response is increased respirations

air concentrations

inhaled air is 21% O2; exhaled air is 16% O2

diffusion of O2 and CO2

occurs because of pressure of the O2 being pushed into capillary network; moves from higher concentration to lower concentration

external respiration

alveolar exchange; gas exchanged between lungs and blood; blood receives O2, lungs receive CO2

internal respiration

cellular exchange; gas exchange between cells and blood through capillaries; cells receive O2 and blood receives CO2

cellular respiration

oxidation; cellular use of O2 for body processes; cells use O2 and produce CO2

upper respiratory tract

above lungs; outside chest cavity; lined with mucous membranes that produce mucous and cilia

warm air

function of upper respiratory tract; very vascular; heat leaves blood vessels to warm the air

humidify air

function of upper respiratory tract; mucous membrane lining, or nasal mucosa, along respiratory tract is moist; moisture enters air

filter air

function of upper respiratory system; mucous secreted by mucous membrane is sticky; cilia located in respiratory tract traps large particles or dust; mucous is moved through upper respiratory tract by cilia to the throat where it is swallowed and destroyed by gastric secretions


bone and cartilage lined with mucous membrane

Toucan Sam

follows his nose

nostrils (nares)

two openings through which air enters nasal cavity

nasal cavity

hollow space behind nose made up of bone and cartilage covered with skin

nasal septum

divides nasal cavity into two halves forming two chambers

nasal conchae

three nasal bones that increase the surface area which improves the ability to warm, moisten and filter

olfactory nerve

located in upper part of nasal cavity; gives us our sense of smell

paranasal sinuses

located in frontal, sphenoid and ethmoid bones and in maxilla; lined with mucous membranes and cilia; affects voice quality


throat; posterior to nasal and oral cavities, located between nasal cavity and larynx; passageway for both air and food


uppermost portion of pharynx; located nearest nasal cavity; passageway for air only; above level of soft palate; during swallowing, the soft palate covers to keep food from going up into the nose; contains eustachian tubes; contains adenoids (pharyngeal tonsil), which are located on the posterior wall (lymph node that contains macrophages)

eustachian tubes

equalize pressure in middle ear and allow eardrum to vibrate


middle portion of pharynx; behind the mouth; passage for food and air; palatine tonsils located here and made up of lymphatic tissue


lowest portion of pharynx; located nearest the larynx; passage of food and air


voice box; enlarged portion of airway below the pharynx, above the trachea; made of nine cartilages lined with ciliated epithelium; has muscles and fibrocartilage plates that keep it open, largest is Adam's apple, which is larger in men

vocal cords

two pair of horizontal folds of muscle and connective tissue; lined with mucous membrane; exhaled air vibrates the vocal cords, allowing for speech; false cords are upper set, produce no sound, help close the airway; true cords are lower set- air movement causes vibration which creates sound; movement of lips and tongue determine the type of sound


space between the true and false cords


flap of cartilage behind the tongue; uppermost cartilage; when swallowing, folds back to cover larynx to prevent aspiration


wind pipe; flexible tube located in front of esophagus; connects lower end of voice box to primary bronchii of lungs; lined with mucous membrane and cilia; muscle and 16-20 c-shaped cartilage rings prevent collapse; no cartilage on back side which allows for expansion of esophagus when swallowing

lower respiratory tract

parts within chest cavity

bronchial tree

trachea branches to form smaller and smaller airways inside the lungs, all the way to the alveoli


first branches from trachea; right primary bronchus (right mainstem bronchus)- shorter, wider and straighter; left primary bronchus (left mainstem bronchus); both line with mucous membrane and cilia; have cartilage rings to hold airway open

bronchial tubes

larger branches from bronchi; continue to branch and get smaller; lined with mucous membrane and cilia; cartilage rings to hold the airway open


smallest branches of the bronchial tree; made of smooth muscle and cilia, no cartilage

alveolar ducts

connects bronchioles to alveolar sacs

alveolar sacs

alveoli; contain clusters of alveoli- tiny, microscopic airsacs; alveoli are type-2 cells, produce pulmonary surfactant to decrease the surface tension within the sac; lined with surfactant; site of gas exchange; adult lung contains approximately 500 million alveoli with a total surface area half the size of a tennis court; made of simple squamous epithelium which is very thin to allow for diffusion; any pathogens or air pollution that reaches the alveoli are usually destroyed by alveolar macrophages


prevents the collapse of alveoli and helps with gas exchange

alveolar capillaries

dense network of capillaries surrounding the alveoli; external respiration occurs between the alveoli and alveolar capillary

hemoglobin and bicarbonate

most of the oxygen is transported through the blood attached to hemoglobin in RBCs; hemoglobin will release oxygen where the oxygen level is low; most CO2 is transported in blood as HCO3 ions in the plasma

pulmonary vein

transports oxygenated blood from the lungs to the heart to be used throughout the body

aorta and carotid bodies

have chemoreceptors that detect decreases in blood-oxygen level; in hypoxia (not enough oxygen) breathing rate will increase to increase amount of O in blood; in response to high blood CO2 levels, the breathing rate will increase to exhale more CO2


two; composed of soft, spongy tissue; located in thoracic cavity, above the diaphragm, to the level of the clavicles, on either side of the heart, separated by the mediastinum; made of elastic connective tissue, which is important to make a normal exhalation a passive process


upper portion of lung under the clavicle


lower portion of lung; curved to fit snugly against diaphragm

right lung

larger and broader, but shorter due to location of liver; divided into three lobes - superior, middle, inferior

left lung

smaller and more narrow, but longer; tilted to the left due to location of the heart; divided into two lobes- superior and inferior


moist membrane surrounding the lungs, double layered

visceral pleura

pulmonary pleura; lines each lung in between the lobes

parietal pleura

lines the thoracic cavity, including the upper side of the diaphragm

pleural space

between the pleural membrane layers; contains pleural fluid (serous fluid) for lubrication to decrease fluid


muscle located below the lungs; primary breathing muscle; separates thoracic and abdominal cavities; made of skeletal muscle; controls breathing; stimulated to contract by the phrenic nerve

mechanisms of breathing

process of moving air in and out of the lungs; works by difference in pressure; at rest, atmospheric pressure equals pressure inside the lungs; ventilation; inhalation (inspiration); exhalation (expiration)

inhalation (inspiration)

diaphragm contracts, pulling down; external intercostal muscles contract, pulling out and up; thoracic cavity enlarges, causing pressure inside the lungs to drop; atmospheric pressure is now higher, which pushes air into the lungs

exhalation (expiration)

passive act; diaphragm and external intercostals relax and move up; thoracic cavity decreases in size, causing pressure to rise; pressure in lungs is now higher, forcing air out

respiratory rate

number of respirations in one minute; one respiration=one inspiration + one expiration; normal is 12-20 respirations per minute


forceful exhalation; clears lower respiratory airways

hiccoughs (hiccups)

spasms of the diaphragm; may be caused by irritation of the diaphragm or the phrenic nerve


air forced out of upper respiratory tract to clear it


deep, prolonged breath; fills lungs more deeply


measures lung capacity

tidal volume

amount of air that is inhaled and exhaled from the lungs or alveoli with each normal breath; average=500 mL

inspiratory reserve volume

amount of air a person can force in above the tidal volume; normal=2000-3000 mL

expiratory reserve volume

amount of air a person can force out after tidal volume; normal= 1000-1500 mL

vital lung capacity

volume of air with greatest inhalation followed by the most forceful exhalation; normal=3500-5000 mL

residual volume

amount of air left in lungs after full expiration; after expiratory reserve; cannot be exhaled voluntarily; allows gas exchange between breaths; average amount=1000-1500 mL


normal breathing at a normal rate, pattern and depth; non-labored breathing


stopped breathing; without breathing


difficulty breathing; may be labored or painful; patient complains of shortness of breath


increased rate and depth of breathing


positional breathing; difficulty breathing when lying down


increased rate of respirations; results in shallow depth


rapid breathing; too much CO2 lost, upsetting acid-base balance, causing respiratory alkalosis; may become dizzy or faint; may be caused by stress or disease

cheyne-stokes respirations

abnormal respiration pattern often preceding death; slow and shallow; abnormally deep and fast; slows and then apnic period

kussmaul respirations

abnormally deep and rapid; sign of very high blood sugar; body attempts to maintain acid-base balance by getting rid of CO2; often, breath has fruity or acetone smell


inflammation of the throat; sore throat; caused by irritation or infection


inflammation of the larynx; voice may become scratchy or disappear


inflammation of the mucous membrane lining the sinuses


inflammation of the trachea or bronchial tubes; excess mucous causes coughing


inflammation of the pleura; causes pain with each breath


inflammation of the mucous membrane lining of the nose; runny nose


infection in the lungs; causes the alveoli to fill with exudates (pus, fluids); causes decreased gas exchange; elderly patients are at a higher risk due to decreased lung expansion


alveoli collapse; common complication following surgery, when a patient will not take deep breaths


primarily affects the lungs, causing lesions seen on xrays; tb skin test done for exposure

TB, or not TB!

That is the congestion!


whooping cough; prevented with vaccine


collapsed lung; when air fills pleural space; increased pressure in pleural space; causes lungs to be compressed so lung cannot fill with air


lung filled with blood


constriction of airways in bronchial tree; restricts movement of air in and out of the lungs

chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

asthma, emphysema, chronic bronchitis


alveoli become overdilated, trapping air; difficult to exhale; if severe, can lead to respiratory acidosis

chronic bronchitis

chronic inflammation of the bronchial tree, causing cough and sputal production

pulmonary embolism

embolus that becomes lodged in blood vessels surrounding the lungs; prevents gas exchange in that area; causes pain and dyspnea

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