Describe the anatomical course and relations of the trachea and bronchial tree (to the level of the segmental bronchi).
Better answers included details of the significant structures related to the cervical and mediastinal trachea and bronchi. The lobar branches and bronchopulmonary segments requiring naming to attract full marks. Many answers lacked sufficient detail or contained inaccuracies regarding vertebral levels and key structural relations. Some candidates discussed the general anatomy of the airway, including the larynx, structure of the airways, blood supply and innervation. This did not attract marks.
- 10cm fibrocartilaginous tube stretching from C6 to the sternal angle
- Cervical portion: inferior boundary: imaginary line of the thoracic inlet
- Mediastinal (thoracic) portion: crosses from the anterior mediastinum to the posterior mediastinum
- Lined with pseudostratified columnar ciliated epithelium and goblet cells
- Superiorly, bordered by the larynx
- Posterior relation: oesophagus
- Right lateral relations: pleura, lung, and the vagus nerve; azygous vein inferiorly
- Left lateral relation: left common carotid and subclavian arteries, arch of the aorta, left recurrent laryngeal nerve
- Anterior relations: skin and thyroid superiorly, SVC
- Inferior relations: right pulmonary artery
- Supplied by the inferior thyroid and bronchial arteries; veins drain to the inferior thyroid plexus.
- Innervated by the vagus and T2-6 sympathetic chain
- Dichotomously branching divisions of increasingly smaller tubes, consisting of complete and incomplete cartilaginous rings as well as smooth muscle
- Gen 1-4: bronchi (cartilaginous)
- Gen 5-14: bronchioles (no cartilage)
- Gen 15-18: Respiratory bronchioles (some gas exchange)
- Gen 19-22: alveolar ducts
- Gen 23: alveolar sacs
- Supplied by bronchial arteries and pulmonary circulation
- Venous drainage into the azygos vein and the accessory hemiazygos vein.
- Innervated by the vagus and T2-6 sympathetic fibres
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