Anatomy of the Respiratory System

The respiratory system consists of the nose, pharynx, larynx, trachea, bronchi, and lungs. From a clinical point of view, the respiratory system is divided into the upper and lower respiratory tract.

1. Upper respiratory tract

The upper respiratory tract consists of the nose, pharynx (throat), and associated structures.

2. Lower respiratory tract 

The lower respiratory tract is consisting of the larynx (voice box), trachea, bronchi, and lungs.
The respiratory system consists of the following organs:

  1. Nose
  2. Pharynx
  3. Larynx
  4. Bronchi
  5. Lungs

Larynx (Voice Box)

The larynx lies in front of the lowest part of the pharynx. It is the upper prominent part of the windpipe and opens into the trachea.
The larynx has multiple cartilages. The largest of these is the thyroid cartilage. Attached to the top of the thyroid cartilage is Epiglottis and it helps to close off the larynx during swallowing.

Vocal cords

The vocal cords lie inside the larynx.

Trachea (Windpipe)

It is almost 10 cm long.


The bronchi are formed by the bifurcation of the trachea at the level of the 5th vertebrae or Trachea divide into two main bronchi, right and left bronchi.
Bronchioles divide into alveoli.
Millions of alveoli are present and these are in close contact with capillaries, where the blood comes into almost in direct contact with air.

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