Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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Breathing Difficulty in a Child Anatomy

To better understand breathing difficulty in children, 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

Last Updated: Nov 3, 2008 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Breathing Difficulty in a Child References
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  3. Lea E, Nawaf H, Yoav T, Elvin S, Ze'ev Z, Amir K. Diagnostic evaluation of foreign body aspiration in children: a prospective study. J Pediatr Surg. 2005 Jul;40(7):1122-7. [16034756]
  4. Yoos HL, Kitzman H, McMullen A, Sidora-Arcoleo K, Anson E. The language of breathlessness: do families and health care providers speak the same language when describing asthma symptoms? J Pediatr Health Care. 2005 Jul-Aug;19(4):197-205. [1601025]
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