Chapter

The upper respiratory tract

J.R. Stradling and S.E. Craig

in Oxford Textbook of Medicine

Published on behalf of Oxford University Press

Published in print May 2010 | ISBN: 9780199204854
Published online May 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780199570973 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/med/9780199204854.003.180101

Series: Oxford Textbooks

The upper respiratory tract

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The upper respiratory tract extends from the anterior nares to the larynx and comprises (1) the nose—with main function as first-line defence against problems with incoming air, acting as a coarse particle filter and a conditioner (temperature and humidity) of the air, and with the sense of smell helping to detect noxious substances that are best avoided. (2) The pharynx—this has to be a rigid tube when used for breathing, but during swallowing it has to be a collapsed tube capable of peristalsis, a combination of functions which is achieved by complex innervation and musculature. Subepithelial collections of lymphoid tissue in the pharynx are ideally suited to process inhaled and swallowed antigens. (3) The larynx—this has three important functions: communication, protection of the airway, and dynamic control of lung volume....

Chapter.  2792 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Respiratory Medicine and Pulmonology

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