Vocabulary of The Trachea, Bronchi & Lungs

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  • 0:01 Tree Roots & Chest Cavity
  • 0:28 Trachea, Bronchi & Alveoli
  • 2:10 Lunds, Mediastinum & Pleura
  • 4:23 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Artem Cheprasov

Artem has a doctor of veterinary medicine degree.

This lesson will define vocabulary of the trachea, bronchi, and lungs: the trachea, lungs, bronchi, bronchioles, alveoli, mediastinum, parietal pleura, visceral pleura, and the pleural cavity.

Tree Roots and Chest Cavity

Each tree has a trunk and a huge system of roots. If you've ever come across a tree that has been uprooted in a forest, you would've noticed how the roots get smaller and smaller with every branching. Keep this image in mind because it will help you understand the many portions of the chest cavity we'll be going over in this lesson.

Trachea, Bronchi, and Alveoli

Okay. So the trunk of the tree, heading down towards the ground where the roots will eventually begin, is like the trachea, commonly called the windpipe. Unlike a rigid tree trunk, it's actually a flexible, cartilaginous tube that is supported by numerous C-shaped cartilage rings. Its main role is to allow for the passage of gases to and from the lungs.

The combining form for the trachea is trache/o, as in tracheotomy. As the trachea heads downwards, deeper into the chest cavity, it will divide into two left and right primary (main) bronchi, the two branches of the trachea, with each one entering their respective lung. The singular for bronchi, by the way, is bronchus.

The primary bronchi are like the first large roots of the tree. They eventually divide into smaller roots, known as secondary and tertiary bronchi. The combining form for bronchi is bronch/o, or bronchi/o, as in bronchitis.

Thereafter, these bronchi subdivide into bronchioles, smaller branches of the bronchi. Again, it's like the root system of a tree, where everything gets smaller and smaller as we divide and branch off more and more as we go deeper and deeper.

At the end of the bronchioles are grape-like clusters called alveoli, or air sacs, where gas exchange occurs in the lungs. The combining form for alveoli is alveol/o, as in alveolar.

Lungs, Mediastinum, and Pleura

The lungs are organs of respiration, located on either side of the heart in the chest cavity. The right lung is made of three lobes, the superior, middle, and inferior. The left lung has two lobes, the superior and inferior. The combining forms for the lungs is pneum/o, pneumon/o, or pulmon/o, as in pneumoconiosis, pneumonia, or pulmonology.

The lungs themselves and the inside of the chest cavity they sit within are lined by pleura, a very thin, delicate, and moist serous membrane. The visceral pleura is a thin membrane that covers the lungs, and the parietal pleura is a thin membrane that covers the inside of the chest wall and the diaphragm.

The combining form for the pleura is pleur/o, as in pleuritis. The space between the visceral and parietal pleura is known as the pleural space or pleural cavity.

Imagine cracking open a walnut. If you crack this hard opening, like cracking open the hard bones of the chest, you'll see a bi-lobed nut in the middle of it, like two lungs in the middle of the chest.

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