Trachea

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The trachea, also known as the windpipe, is a long, broad tube located in the body. It is a hollow pipe and functions to join the larynx with the bronchi of lungs to form an important part in the body's respiratory system as it gives air flow back and forth from the lungs[1].. The extent of the trachea is from sixth cervical vertebrae until the fifth thoracic vertebrae. At this level, the trachea branches out to form two bronchi for each lung. Histologically, it is made up of hyaline cartilages (C shaped) and membranes comprising of the fibrous membrane and the mucous membrane. It is located in the superior mediastinum[2].

The trachea is related anteriorly by:

  1. isthmus of thyroid gland
  2. inferior thyroid veins
  3. thyroidea ima artery
  4. sternothyroid and sternohyoid muscle
  5. cervical fascia
  6. anastomoses of anterior jugular veins

The trachea is related posteriorly by oesophagus. It is related laterally to the common carotid arteries, lobes if thyroid glands, inferior thyroid arteries and recurrent nerves. The pleura and right vagus is in its right relations while the left recurrent nerve, aortic arch, left common carotid and subclavian arteries are related to its left[3].

The arterial supply is by inferior thyroid arteries. Venous drainage is in the thyroid venous plexus. The vagus nerve and recurrent nerves are its nervous supply[4].

The trachea contains cilia; microscopic, hairlike organelles that line the surface of cells in the trachea and bronchi. They sweep in pulsing waves to brush mucus which contains unwanted inhaled foreign particles such as dust up out of the lungs.

References

  1. Anatomy Of the trachea. http://www.innerbody.com/image_card06/card13.html#full-description
  2. Reference to trachea. Anatomy of the human body, by Henry Gray. http://www.bartleby.com/107/237.html
  3. Reference to trachea. Anatomy of the human body, by Henry Gray. http://www.bartleby.com/107/237.html
  4. Reference to trachea. Anatomy of the human body, by Henry Gray. http://www.bartleby.com/107/237.html
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