The Respiratory System

The Respiratory System
Medical Terminology
Chapter 7
Functions of the Respiratory
• Bring oxygen-rich air into the body
for delivery to the blood cells
• Expel waste products (carbon
dioxide and water) that have been
returned to the lungs by the blood.
• Produce the air flow through the
larynx that makes speech happen.
Word Parts
• nas/o, rhin/o = nose
• sinus/o = sinuses
• epiglott/o = epiglottis
• pharyng/o = pharynx (throat)
• laryng/o = larynx (voice box /
vocal cords)
• trache/o = trachea
• bronch/o, bronchi/o = bronchi
• alveol/o = alveoli
• pneum/o, pneumon/o, pulmon/o
= lungs
• thorac/o, -thorax = chest
• -ectasis = stretching, opening
• -pnea = breathing
• Ox/o = oxygen
Structures of the Respiratory
•Upper Respiratory Tract
consists of the nose, mouth,
pharynx, epiglottis, larynx and
•Lower Respiratory Tract
consists of the bronchial tree
and the lungs. These structures
are protected by the thoracic
• A sinus is an air-filled cavity within
a bone, and it is lined with mucous
• They make the skull lighter, help
produce sound by giving resonance
to the voice, and produce mucus
that drains into the nasal cavity.
•There are four sinuses in the
bones of the skull, called the
paranasal sinuses. (para- =
near, nas = nose, -al =
pertaining to).
• Air enters the body through the
nose and passes through the nasal
• Then, the air reaches the pharynx
which has 3 divisions:
• nasopharynx
• oropharynx – part you can see
• laryngopharynx
Protective Swallowing
• Two mechanisms act automatically
during swallowing to ensure that
only air goes into the lungs.
• The soft palate, the posterior part of
the roof of the mouth, moves up
and backward to prevent food from
going up into the nose.
•At the same time, the epiglottis,
which is a lid-like structure at
the base of the tongue, swings
downward and closes off the
laryngopharynx so food does
not enter the trachea or the
The Larynx (laryng/o)
• The “voice box” – located between
the pharynx and the trachea
• Protected & held open by a series
of 9 separate cartilages. The
thyroid cartilage is the largest. Its
prominent projection is commonly
known as the Adam’s apple.
• The larynx contains the vocal cords
• During breathing, the cords are
separated to let air pass.
• During speech, they are together,
and sound is produced as air is
expelled from the lungs, causing
the cords to vibrate against each
other and make your voice noise.
• Air passes from the larynx into the
trachea, also known as the
• It is held open by a series of Cshaped cartilage rings.
• The trachea divides into two
branches called bronchi (singular =
•Within the lung, the bronchus
divides and subdivides into
smaller branches called
•Because of the similarity of
these branching structures to a
tree, this is referred to as the
bronchial tree.
• Alveoli, also known as air sacs, are
small grapelike clusters found at
the end of each bronchiole.
• The thin alveoli walls are
surrounded by microscopic
pulmonary capillaries.
• This is where the gas exchange
The Lungs
• A lobe is a division of the lungs.
• The right lung has three lobes, the
superior, middle and inferior.
• The left lung has two lobes, the
superior and the inferior.
• The mediastinum is the space
between the lungs.
• The pleura is a membrane that
surrounds each lung.
• The parietal pleura is the outer
layer of the pleura; forms the sac
containing each lung.
• The visceral pleura is the inner
layere of the pleura. It closely
surrounds the lung tissue.
• The pleural space, also known as
the pleural cavity, is the airtight
space between the folds of the
pleural membrane.
• It contains a watery lubricating
fluid that prevents friction when
the membranes rub together
during respiration.
The Diaphragm (phren/o)
• The diaphragm is the muscle
separating the thoracic and
abdominal cavities.
• When this contracts & relaxes,
breathing is possible.
• The phrenic nerve stimulates the
diaphragm and causes it to
• This is the exchange of gases
essential to life.
• This occurs in the lungs as external
respiration and in the cells as
internal respiration.
• Inhalation – breathing in
• Exhalation – breathing out
• As air is inhaled into the alveoli,
oxygen passes into the surrounding
capillaries and is carried by the
RBCs to all body cells.
• At the same time, the waste
product carbon dioxide passes
from the capillaries into the
airspaces of the lungs to be
• Internal respiration is the exchange
of gases within the cells of all body
organs and tissues.
• Oxygen (O2) passes from the
bloodstream into the tissue cells,
and carbon dioxide passes from the
tissue cells into the bloodstream.
Terminology Practice
• Allergic rhinitis – inflammation of
the nose due to an allergy;
increased flow of mucus.
• Rhinorrhea - runny nose
• Sinusitis – inflammation of sinuses
• Pharyngitis – inflammation of the
pharynx; aka sore throat.
• pharyngorrhagia – bleeding from
• laryngoplegia – paralysis of the
• laryngospasm – sudden spasmodic
closure of the larynx
• laryngitis – inflammation of the
larynx; usually causes voice loss
• tracheitis – inflammation of trachea
• tracheorrhagia – bleeding from
• bronchitis – inflammation of the
• bronchorrhea – excessive discharge
of mucus from the bronchi
• pleuralgia – pain in the pleura or
• pneumorrhagia – bleeding from
• pneumonia – condition of having
inflammation of lungs with pus
and other liquids in the alveoli.
• tachypnea – fast breathing (>20)
• bradypnea – slow breathing (<10)
• apnea – absence of breathing
• dyspnea – difficulty breathing
• hyper/pnea – abnormal increase in
depth & rate of breathing.
• hypo/pnea – shallow or slow
• hyperventilation – abnormally
rapid deep breathing.
• pharyngoplasty – surgical repair of
the pharynx
• laryngotomy – incision into larynx
• tracheostomy – creation of a new
opening into the trachea; a tube is
inserted which may be temporary
or permanent.
• lobectomy – surgical removal of a
lobe of the lung
• thoracentesis – puncture of chest
wall to obtain fluid from the
pleural cavity.
Pathology of the Respiratory
• Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary
Disease (COPD): a general term
used to describe respiratory
conditions characterized by chronic
airflow limitations.
• Asthma – a chronic, allergic
disorder characterized by episodes
of severe breathing difficulty,
coughing, wheezing.
• Dyspnea can be caused by:
• swelling / inflammation of lining
of the airways
• production of thick mucus
• tightening of muscles around
• Bronchi/ectasis : chronic dilation
(enlargement, stretching) of
bronchi or bronchioles from an
earlier lung infection that was not
• Emphysema – progressive loss of
lung function due to a decrease in
the total number of alveoli, the
enlargement of the remaining
alveoli, and then the progressive
destruction of their walls.
• Breathing becomes more rapid,
shallow, and difficult.
• In an effort to compensate for the
• loss of capacity, the lungs expand
and the chest assumes an enlarged
barrel shape as air is trapped in the
• Prevention of emphysema – stop
• Epistaxis – nosebleed. Usually
from an injury, excessive use of
blood thinners, or bleeding
• Sit straight up, tilt head slightly
forward, pinch your nose for 10
• May apply an ice pack.
• Pneumothorax – an accumulation
of air or gas in the pleural space,
causing the lung to collapse.
• Hemothorax – accumulation of
blood in the pleural cavity.
• Pleural effusion – abnormal escape
of fluid into the pleural cavity that
prevents the lung from fully
• Atelectasis – also known as a
“collapsed lung”
• It is a condition in which the lung
fails to expand because air cannot
pass beyond the bronchioles that
are blocked by secretions.
Types of Pneumonia
• Bacterial – commonly caused by
streptococcus pneumonia – only type
of pneumonia that can be
prevented by a vaccination.
• Viral – approx. ½ of all
• Lobar - affects one or more lobes
• Double – involves both lungs
• Aspiration – may occur when a
foreign substance, such as vomit or
food, is inhaled into the lungs.
• Mycoplasma – also known as
“walking pneumonia”. Is a milder
but longer lasting form, caused by
the fungus mycoplasma.
Lack of Oxygen
• Anoxia – the absence or almost
complete absence of oxygen from
inspired gases, arterial blood or
tissues. (ox/o = oxygen).
• If it occurs for more than 4-6
minutes, irreversible brain damage
may occur.
• Asphyxia – the pathologic changes
caused by a lack of oxygen in air
that is breathed in. It causes anoxia
and hypoxia.
• Asphyxiation – suffocation. An
interruption of breathing resulting
in the loss of consciousness or
death. Drowning, smothering,
choking, inhaling carbon dioxide.
• Cyanosis – a bluish discoloration of
the skin caused by a lack of
adequate oxygen. (cyan/o = blue, osis = a condition of.)
• Hypoxia – the condition of having
subnormal oxygen levels in the
Respiratory secretions
• Phlegm – the thick mucus secreted
by tissues lining the respiratory
• Sputum – phlegm that is ejected
(coughed up) through the mouth.
May be used for diagnostic

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