Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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Asbestosis Anatomy

To better understand asbestosis, it helps to understand the anatomy of the lungs.

Inside the chest, the windpipe, or trachea, divides into two smaller tubes: the right bronchus and the left bronchus. The right bronchus enters the right lung and the left bronchus enters the left lung. The right bronchus and left bronchus branch into smaller and smaller tubes.

The smallest tubes, called bronchioles, end in tiny air sacs, called alveoli. Blood flows very close to the walls of the alveoli. Oxygen and carbon dioxide pass between the air and the bloodstream through the wall of the alveoli.

Anatomy examples:

  • The lung and airways
  • The bronchioles and alveoli
  • The lungs
  • Pulmonary vessels

Last Updated: Nov 3, 2008 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Asbestosis References
  1. Cugell DW, Kamp DW. Asbestos and the pleura: aChest. 2004 Mar;125(3):1103-17. [15006974]
  2. Hessel PA, Gamble JF, McDonald JC. Asbestos, asbestosis, and lung cancer: a critical assessment of the epidemiological evidence. Thorax. 2005 May;60(5):433-6. [15860721]
  3. Niklinski J, Niklinska W, Chyczewska E, Laudanski J, Naumnik W, Chyczewski L, Pluygers E. The epidemiology of asbestos-related diseases. Lung Cancer. 2004 Aug;45 Suppl 1:S7-S15. [15261426]
  4. Ohar J, Sterling DA, Bleecker E, Donohue J. Changing patterns in asbestos-induced lung disease. Chest. 2004 Feb;125(2):744-53. [14769760]
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