- Leads inspired air to the lower airway
- Different from the lungs
- Leads to the lungs
Structures of the upper airway
- Oral cavity
Function is to filter, humidify, and condition inspired air.
Widening of the nostrils during periods of respiratory difficulty.
Opposite of nasal flaring; important sign of nasal obstruction.
Hair follicles located in the vestibule (where filtering begins).
Pseudostratified ciliated columnar epithelium
Lines the posterior two-thirds of the nasal cavity and the tracheobronchial tree.
Three bony protrusions
1. Superior conchae
2. Middle conchae
3. Inferior conchae
Separate inspired gas into several different airstreams -- this action increases the contact area between the inspired air and the warm, moist surface of the nasal mucosa.
Most common cause of airway obstruction in the unconscious person.
- Holds the food and continuously repositions it between the teeth
- Mixes the food with saliva, form a bolus, and then initiates swallowing by moving posteriorly into the pharynx
Roof of the mouth
Formed by the hard and soft palate.
Keeps food/liquid from going into the respiratory tract.
- Large uvula can cause obstructive sleep apnea
A large mass of lymphatic nodules and diffuse lymphatic tissue that protect against bacteria and other harmful substances
- Palatine tonsils
- Lingual tonsils
- Pharyngeal tonsils
Lymphoid tissues located between the palatine arches on either side of the oral cavity.
Loosely associated collection of lymphatic nodules located on the posterior, base of the tongue.
Located in the posterior nasopharynx.
Pharyngotympanic tubes/eustachian tubes
Run downward to connect the middle ears to the nasopharynx and serve to equalize the pressure in the middle ear.
Lies between the soft palate superiorly and the base of the tongue inferiorly.
Lies between the base of the tongue and the entrance of the esophagus.
Located between the posterior portion of the nasal cavity and the superior portion of the soft palate.
Pharyngeal (gag) reflex
Muscles and nerves that produce a stimulation to prevent the aspiration of foods and liquids as well as to prevent the base of the tongue from falling back and obstructing the laryngopharynx.
Larynx (voice box)
1. Acts as a passageway of air between the pharynx and the trachea.
2. Serves as a protective mechanism against the aspiration of solids and liquids.
3. Generates sounds for speech.
Cartilage, vocal cords, and epiglottis.
Rigid structures that protect the airway.
- True vocal cords (upper)
- False vocal cords (lower)
Closes to prevent food and liquid from entering the trachea by diverting food and liquid to esophagus.
- Space between the vocal cords
- Entrance to the lower airway