• Air enters the nostrils
• passes through the nasopharynx,
• the oral pharynx
• through the glottis
• into the trachea
• into the right and left bronchi, which branches andrebranches into
• bronchioles, each of which terminates in a cluster of
Only in the alveoli does actual gas exchange takes place. There are some 300 million alveoli in two adult lungs.These provide a surface area of some 160 m2 (almost equal to the singles area of a tennis court and 80 times the area of our skin!).
In mammals, the diaphragm divides the body cavity intothe
• abdominal cavity, which contains the viscera (e.g., stomach and intestines) and the
• thoracic cavity, which contains the heart and lungs.
The inner surface of the thoracic cavity and theouter surface of the lungs are lined with pleural membranes which adhere to each other. If air is introduced between them, the adhesion is broken and the natural elasticity of the lung causes it tocollapse. This can occur from trauma. And it is sometimes induced deliberately to allow the lung to rest. In either case, reinflation occurs as the air is gradually absorbed by the tissues.
Because ofthis adhesion, any action that increases the volume of the thoracic cavity causes the lungs to expand, drawing air into them.
• During inspiration (inhaling),
o The external intercostal musclescontract, lifting the ribs up and out.
o The diaphragm contracts, drawing it down .
• During expiration (exhaling), these processes are reversed and the natural elasticity of the lungs returns themto their normal volume. At rest, we breath 15–18 times a minute exchanging about 500 ml of air.
• In more vigorous expiration,
o The internal intercostal muscles draw the ribs down and inward
oThe wall of the abdomen contracts pushing the stomach and liver upward.
Under these conditions, an average adult male can flush his lungs with about 4 liters of air at each breath. This is called...
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