Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

Bronchiectasis Anatomy

To better understand bronchiectasis, 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 Bronchiectasis References
  1. Barker AF: Bronchiectasis. Semin Thorac Cardiovasc Surg 1995 Apr; 7(2): 112-8. [7612755]
  2. Franco F, Sheikh A, Greenstone M: Short acting beta-2 agonists for bronchiectasis. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2003; CD003572. [12917973]
  3. ten Hacken N, Kerstjens H, Postma D. Bronchiectasis. Clin Evid. 2004 Jun;(11):1998-2002. [15652093]
  4. Tsang KW, Tan KC, Ho PL, et al: Inhaled fluticasone in bronchiectasis: a 12 month study. Thorax 2005 Mar; 60(3): 239-43. [15741443]
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