Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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Lung Disease from Silica Anatomy

To better understand silicosis, 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 4, 2008 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Lung Disease from Silica References
  1. Arakawa H, Honma K, Saito Y, Shida H, Morikubo H, Suganuma N, Fujioka M. Pleural disease in silicosis: pleural thickening, effusion, and invagination. Radiology. 2005 Aug;236(2):685-93. [16040925]
  2. Castranova V, Vallyathan V. Silicosis and coal workers' pneumoconiosis. Environ Health Perspect. 2000 Aug;108 Suppl 4:675-84. [10931786]
  3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Silicosis mortality, prevention, and control--United States, 1968-2002. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2005 Apr 29;54(16):401-5. [15858459]
  4. Linch KD. Respirable concrete dust--silicosis hazard in the construction industry. Appl Occup Environ Hyg. 2002 Mar;17(3):209-21. [11871757]
  5. Rimal B, Greenberg AK, Rom WN. Basic pathogenetic mechanisms in silicosis: current understanding. Curr Opin Pulm Med. 2005 Mar;11(2):169-73. [15699791]
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