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Physiology 2130 NOTES for Module 10-16.pdf

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Physiology 2130
Anita Woods

3   Anatomy   The lungs are located in the thoracic cavity and are surrounded by the rib cage and the diaphragm. The airways consist of the nasal cavity and the mouth, which join together at the pharynx. The pharynx leads into the larynx or voice box, which then becomes the trachea. The trachea divides into two main bronchi (left and right), which continually divide into smaller and smaller bronchioles. These bronchioles continually divide and eventually end in the alveoli, which are the site of gas exchange in the lung.   Anatomy—Blood Vessels and Blood   Flow The pulmonary artery, which delivers deoxygenated blood to the lungs, branches extensively to form a dense network of capillaries around each alveolus. The structure of the capillaries and blood flow characteristics maximize gas exchange. These characteristics include thin endothelial walls, large total cross-sectional area, and a very low blood velocity. Hence, in the capillaries, oxygen diffuses into the blood while carbon dioxide diffuses out. From the capillaries, the oxygen-rich blood flows back to the left side of the heart through the pulmonary vein.                                    
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