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Human Respiratory System
Important Terms:
Nose: passageway for air, nose hair filters/captures particles that you don’t want in your lungs. It is not a
perfect system, some still get in. Warms air.
Mouth: passageway for food and air, warms air. *Nose and mouth passageways are connected*
Nasal Cavity: filters, warms, and moistens air
Pharynx (throat): common passageway for air, food, and liquid
Larynx (voice box): production of sound
Trachea (windpipe): main airway
Bronchi: branching airways
Alveoli: air sacs for gas exchange
Lung: organ of gas exchange
Intercoastal muscle: moves ribs during respiration
Diaphragm: skeletal muscle of respiration
Pleural membranes: covers the lungs and line the chest cavity
Epiglottis: covers larynx during swallowing, opens when you breath, closes when you eat
Cilia: hair-like projection, line the primary bronchus to remove microbes and debris from the interior of
the lungs. Whatever particles do get through, the cilia on the trachea brushes the mucous away,
upwards til it goes to the epiglottis and you swallow it, which is better than it going into the lungs
Goblet cells: secrete mucous that helps food move, mucous helps collect up dust and foreign particles,
these cells do not have cilia. *If there is excessive mucous, the cilia cannot brush it all off, which results
in too much mucous and congestion
Functional residual capacity: after blowing out all air, what you have left (normal breathing)
Serfactin: helps lungs not stick when there’s no air
Minute ventilation: how much you breath in a minute
Sperometer: measures the volume of air you breath in and out
Tidal volume: normal breath (from inhalation to exhalation)
Total Lung Capacity: how much air is in the lungs
Vital Capacity: max. Inhalation max. Exhalation
SA node: regulates how fast your heart beats by sending electrical pulses. Causes the atrium to
contract, which pumps to ventricle, then pumps to the body
Components of the Lower Respiratory Tract
Right side: 3 lobes (right bronchus)
Left side: 2 lobes (smaller because your heart is on that side)
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Anatomy of the Lower Respiratory Tract
1. Conductive zone: no gas exchange, humidifies, warms and filters air
air enters through mouth/nosetrachealarynxbronchibronchioles
2. Respiratory zone: gas exchange
Air/O2 goes from bronchiolesalveoli
Inspiration vs. Expiration
1. Inspiration Diaphragm:
-air in
-diaphragm goes down, expands lungs
-external intercoastal muscles contract
-rib cage goes out
2. Expiration Diaphragm:
-air out
-diaphragm goes back to original position (goes a bit higher)
-internal intercoastal muscles (muscle layer inside ribs) expand (go up)
Important Values
Average Male
Average Female
Tidal Volume (TV)
500 mL
500 mL
Amount of air inhaled or
exhaled with each breath
under resting conditions.
Total Lung Capacity
6000 mL
4200 mL
Max. Amount of air
contained in lungs after a
max. Inspiratory effor
Lung Function Test
Routine speriometry tests basic lung function
You blow into a speriometer
Functional residual capacity and residual volume cannot be measured with the speriometer
The Healthy Heart
Left side: pumps to your body
Right side: pumps to lungs
Why do we need an atria? Why do we need 2 parts to the heart?
The thin atrial walls are nice and thin so that the blood can easily return to the heart
The atrial contractions over fill the ventricles so that they are slightly stretched and allow for a
better contraction and ejection fraction (Frank Starling Mechanism, elastic recoil). Not possible
with the low venous blood pressure alone
Ventricle walls are much thicker, so that it can generate the blood pressure necessary to
distribute blood around the body
Atriums pack the ventricles full, if you didn’t have atriums, the heart wouldn’t fill as well,
therefore your exercise capacity will go down
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Thick walls in ventricle are for pressure to exert the blood to the body
Thin walls in atrium to have maximum capacity for holding the blood
Diastole: ventricular relaxation and filling
Systole: ventricular contraction and ejection
How Does the Heart Contract
During atrial systole (contraction and ejection), the ventricular volume goes up 50%, allowing for
better filling
Takes about 1 minute to circulate/pump blood throughout entire body (5L)
The Path of Blood Flow
Normal Resting Values (Each time your heart pumps blood)
Heart rate (HR): 50-80 bpm
Stroke volume (SV): 60-80mL/beat
Elite Values (athletes)
Heart rate (HR): 30-40 bpm
Stroke Volume: 90-110mL/beat
Therefore, athletes have a lower HR, but a higher SV than normal people
Cardiac output is how much your heart is pumping at any given minute
*Cardiac output (Q)= HR x SV
Average blood volume= 5L
All clots in your blood go into your lungs, they may get get caught and cause a heart attack
1/3 of the lung you can still survive, but not the heart
Your true resting HR is when you are sleeping
Blood Cycle
Oxygenated blood goes into tissues, oxygen unloadsCO2 comes out and O2 goes in
When you breath out, you have more breath out more oxygen in the air than it was in your
veins because you breath out air from your conductive zone (dead space), which never made it
to the alveoli
Composition of Air
Inhaled Air: 78% Nitrogen, 21% Oxygen
Exhaled Air: 78% Nitrogen, 17% Oxygen
*When you give air to someone who’s unconscious, you’re giving them oxygen from your dead space
How Does Oxygen Travel in the Blood?
Hemoglobin: -carries 98.5% of all O2
-hold up to 4 oxygen molecules
-also carries other gases (CO2, CO, NO)
Oyygen binds to hemoglobin (4 oxygen molecules can bind)
CO (carbon monoxide) can bind to oxygen more tightly than hemoglobin and the pxygen can
then not bind which results in death
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