Anatomy

The adult trachea is approximately 11 cm long, with 3.5 cm located above the suprasternal notch. It extends from the lower border of the cricothyroid cartilage, at the level of the sixth cervical vertebra, to the carina which lies at the level of the upper border of the fifth thoracic vertebra posteriorly and the manubriosternal joint anteriorly, possibly extending caudally as far as the sixth thoracic vertebra during inspiration when erect ( D.unne.a.nd.„Gl!lbe 1987). The trachea bifurcates into main bronchi, giving rise to lobar and segmental bronchi. The right main bronchus has a narrower angle of origin from the trachea and therefore is more prone to intraluminal obstruction by foreign bodies.

The trachea is U-shaped in cross-section and approximately 1.8 cm in diameter; its structure is maintained by supporting cartilaginous rings. Lesions may not produce symptoms until encroachment upon the lumen has reached 50 per cent. The trachea may be compressed outside the thorax in the neck. The intrathoracic trachea and bronchi are exposed to changes in intrathoracic pressure and may collapse when intrathoracic pressure exceeds intraluminal pressure by approximately 50 cmH 2O.

Sleep Apnea

Sleep Apnea

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