Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

Overview Evaluation Treatment cough medicine precautions expectorants specialist Home Care cough in adults cough in children warning signs Underlying Cause Types Anatomy

Cough Anatomy

To better understand cough, 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 Cough References
  1. Chang AB, Asher MI. A review of cough in children. J Asthma. 2001 Jun;38(4):299-309. [11456383]
  2. Irwin RS, Curley FJ. The treatment of cough. A comprehensive review. Chest. 1991 Jun;99(6):1477-84. [2036833]
  3. Schroeder K, Fahey T. Should we advise parents to administer over the counter cough medicines for acute cough? Systematic review of randomised controlled trials. Arch Dis Child. 2002 Mar;86(3):170-5. [11861232]
  4. Schroeder K, Fahey T. Systematic review of randomised controlled trials of over the counter cough medicines for acute cough in adults. BMJ. 2002 Feb 9;324(7333):329-31. [11834560]
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