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Flashcards in Upper Airway Deck (83)
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How is the larynx, trachea and bronchioles held open?

By plates/crescents of cartilage (a non-mineralised connective tissue, supporting but flexible)


How are the nasal cavities and pharynx kept open?

By attachments to nearby bone


How do the alveoli and brocnhioles stay open?

They have surfactant that prevents collapse by surface tension


What are the 3 parts of the pharynx and describe them?

Nasopharynx – posterior to the nasal cavity, and is the Eustachian tube opening

Oropharynx – posterior to the tongue, consists of lymphoid tissue

Laryngopharynx – after the epiglottis


What is the eustachian tube?

A tube that links the nasopharynx to the middle ear


What is the purpose of the larynx?

Its not there to produce sound – it is there to protect the airway during the ingestion of food. However, we do use the larynx to make sounds (phonation and speech).


Describe the structure of the nasal cavities?

- Nearly triangular cross-section
- Has fairly smooth medial and inferior walls
- Has an elaborate lateral wall in which the respiratory epithelium with hairy mucosa covers three scroll-like plates of bones called the conchae
- Has a complex and important vascular and nerve supply


What is the importance of the conchae?

- Inspired air passes through these warm, moist plates
- The air becomes warmed and humidified on the way
- This protects the lower parts of the respiratory tract from cold shock and drying
- The nasal lining becomes cooled in this process
- So, during expiration, the nasal lining cools the expired air
- It also retrieves water by condensation


During exercise why do we breathe through our mouths and what does this result in?

- During exercise the nasal resistance to flow means nasal airflow isn’t fast enough
- Open-mouth breathing takes over
- This causes an increased loss of water and exposure to airborne particles


What is the secondary role of the nasal cavity?

Sense of olfaction (smell) – olfactory tract has a specialised epithelium with specialised nerve supply


What are the 3 conchae called?

Superior, middle and inferior nasal concha


What is found between the conchae?

Meatuses (spaces) – superior, middle and inferior


What do the conchae have to combat pathogens?

An immune system


What are the conchae a drainage route for?



Which nerve is responsible for olfaction?

olfactory nerve


Which nerve provides innervation to the glands e.g. lacrimal?

facial nerve


Which nerve provides sensation to the anterior and to the posterior region of the nasal cavity?

anterior: V1
posterior: V2


Where does blood supply to the nasal cavity come from?

From branches of the internal carotid artery and external carotid artery


Describe venous drainage of nasal cavities and clinical relevance of this

The superior parts of the nasal cavity drain into the cranial cavity. The nasal cavity has a function to trap pathogens, and this can be drained into the cranial cavity -> infection


What are paranasal air sinuses?

- 4 sets of blind-ended holes of the lateral walls of the nasal cavities
- Includes frontal, maxillary, sphenoidal and ethmoidal sinuses
- The air turnover in these is fairly slow and plays little role in heat and water transfer


What are the possible roles of the sinuses?

- Reducing the weight of the facial bones – MAIN FUNCTION
- Providing a “crumple zone” in facial trauma – protects the brain
- Acting as resonators for the voice
- Insulating sensitive structures such as dental roots and eyes from the rapid temperature fluctuations in the nasal cavities


Infection of which sinus is common and why?

Infection of the maxillary sinus is common as the opening is high up


What supplies sensory innervation to the paranasal sinuses?



Where do the sinuses drain into the nasal cavity?

The meatuses


Why does lacrimation get accompanied by sniffling?

When lacrimation occurs, tears are produced and drain into the back of the nasal cavity via the nasolacrimal duct.


How does the sphenoid sinus drain into the nasal cavity?

Via the spehno-ethmoidal recess


Where do the middle ethmoid air cell drain?

Into the ethmoidal bulla between the middle and inferior conchae


Where do the frontal sinuses and anterior ethmoid cells drain?

into the nasal cavity via the frontonasal duct


Where do the posterior ethmoid air cell drain?

Into lateral wall of superior meatus


Where does the maxillary sinus drain?

At floor of semilunar hiatus