Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

Bronchial Tube Infection Anatomy

To better understand bronchitis, 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 Bronchial Tube Infection References
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  2. Harris RH, MacKenzie TD, Leeman-Castillo B: Optimizing antibiotic prescribing for acute respiratory tract infections in an urban urgent care clinic. J Gen Intern Med 2003 May; 18(5): 326-34. [12795730]
  3. Panpanich R, Lerttrakarnnon P, Laopaiboon M. Azithromycin for acute lower respiratory tract infections. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2004 Oct 18;(4):CD001954. [15497172]
  4. Smucny J, Fahey T, Becker L: Antibiotics for acute bronchitis (Cochrane Review). Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2000; 4: CD000245. [11034678]
  5. Wark P. Bronchitis (acute). Clin Evid. 2005 Jun;(13):1844-52. [16135312]
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