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Trachea: want to learn more about it?

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Trachea

Learning objectives

This study unit will help you to:

1. Describe the location of the trachea.
2. Master the structure and functions of the trachea.

Watch videos

The trachea (windpipe) is a long fibrocartilaginous respiratory tube that connects the larynx and the primary bronchi. As it is located below the larynx, it is considered part of the lower respiratory tract. It comprises tracheal cartilages bound anterolaterally by anular ligaments and posteriorly by the trachealis muscle. The trachea ends at the level of vertebra T5 in a bifurcation, dividing into the left and right main bronchi. Trachea and bronchi combined form the tracheobronchial tree. The main function of this cartilaginous tube is to conduct air from the larynx to the bronchi and vice versa. The trachea also protects the lungs from potentially harmful external agents with its immune cells and from particles physically entering the lungs through its specialized epithelial cells.

The following video tutorial will help you understand all the important features of the trachea.

Take a quiz

Now that you have watched the video about the trachea, test your knowledge and check your current progress by taking our quiz!

Was that quiz too easy for you? No worries, we’ve got you covered! With our custom quiz about the respiratory system, you can choose your own topics and structures.

Browse atlas

Now you can observe each feature of the trachea in more detail with our image gallery:

Summary

Key points about the trachea
Definition The trachea is a fibrocartilaginous tube that transports air from the upper respiratory tract to the lungs and vice versa.
Structure Anterolateral wall: 16-20 tracheal cartilages connected by anular ligaments
Posterior wall: fibromuscular wall (trachealis muscle)
Function Air conduction, immune and mechanical protection

Well done!

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Continue your learning

Now that you're familiar with the main features and functions of the trachea, continue learning about the other parts of the lower respiratory tract, including the bronchi, bronchioles and lungs.

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