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The pulmonary or respiratory system (Figure 10-1) consists of the sternum, 12 pairs of ribs, the clavicle, and the vertebrae of the thoracic spine, which form the thoracic cage (Table 10-1).

Figure 10-1.

Schematic representation of the main divisions of the respiratory tract. (Reproduced, with permission, from Junqueira LC, Carneiro J: Basic Histology: Text and Atlas, 10th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill. 2003:349.)

Table 10-1. Bony Anatomy of the Thoracic Cage
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  • External respiration: the exchange of gases between the atmosphere and the blood.
  • Internal respiration: the exchange of gases between the blood and the cells of the body.
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  • Ventilation: The movement of air through the conducting airways (see "Pulmonary System Physiology").
  • Respiration: A term used to describe the gas exchange within the body.

The primary function of the respiratory system is to exchange gases between the environment and the tissues and blood so that arterial blood oxygen (O2), carbon dioxide (CO2), and pH levels remain within defined limits throughout many different physiological confines.1 In addition, the pulmonary system contributes to temperature homeostasis via evaporative heat loss from the lungs, and ...

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