Respiratory system – Anatomical terminology for healthcare professionals | Kenhub

Respiratory system – Anatomical terminology for healthcare professionals | Kenhub

There are many things in life that will take
your breath away – watching a beautiful sunset, holding your newborn for the first
time, receiving your credit card bill after a holiday, someone holding you in a headlock
or even looking at Facebook after a night out. Respiratory system terminology, however, need
not to be one of those things because we’re here to help. Welcome to episode seven of the Kenhub series
‘Anatomical Terminology for Healthcare Professionals’ taking a breath of fresh air with the respiratory
system terminology. If you watched any of the previous videos
in our series, you’ll know that instead of helping you to memorize long complicated and
unpleasant anatomical terms, we like to break them down for you into familiar little chunks
which we’ve been calling prefixes, roots, and suffixes, and once you’ve mastered these,
you can breathe freely instead of breathing into a paper bag. Remember, you can reinforce your learning
by making simple flashcards of all the different terms we encounter today. Just add the word elements on the front and
the explanations on the back. Register for free with and make
your flashcards even more effective by adding some of our awesome anatomical illustrations
found in our atlas. In clinical practice, there are lots of specific
terms related to different parts of the respiratory system. The good news, though, is that they’re mostly
really straightforward. Let’s begin with those related to the upper
respiratory tract. The first root we’ll look at has to be nas-
or nas/o- with the O at the end which, of course, means the first point of entry in
the respiratory system – the nasal cavity. We’ll see it pop up in terms like nasoscope
– an instrument used to examine the nasal cavity. Another root that also refers to the nose
is rhin- or rhin/o- with the O at the end. You’ve almost definitely heard it used in
the term rhinoplasty, perhaps better known as a nose job. Next up is pharyng- or pharyng/o- with the
O at the end referring to the pharynx. The pharynx in itself is divided into three
parts. The first and the last of the segments – the
nasopharynx and laryngopharynx – are pretty straightforward. The oropharynx is a bit less obvious. However, as soon as you find out the or- or
or/o- with the O comes from the Latin word ‘oris’ for mouth, it will make perfect
sense that oropharynx is located behind the mouth at the level of the tonsils. The root pharyng- or pharyng/o- with the O
at the end also pops up in terms like pharyngoxerosis meaning dryness of the pharynx, and pharyngomycosis
which is a fungal infection of the pharynx. Now that concludes the upper respiratory tract,
and we move on to the lower tract. Here, we have the root laryng- or laryng/o-
with the O at the end which, of course, relates to the larynx. It’s used in terms like laryngalgia or laryngostenosis,
which is narrowing of the larynx. Occasionally, you’ll come across terms that
look like a random jumble of different roots; however, if you break them down, you’ll see
they’re actually quite simple. For example, nasopharyngolaryngoscope is a
flexible endoscope introduced through the nose to examine the pharynx and the larynx. So, although it may twist your tongue, it
need not to break your spirit. Now that leads us to trachea and the associated
root trache- or trache/o- with the O at the end such as tracheitis or tracheoplasty. We’re now moving into the bronchi and, unsurprisingly,
the roots we have here bronch- or bronch/o- with the O at the end or bronch- or bronch/i-
with the I at the end, in addition to bronchiol- or bronchiol/o- with the O at the end which
refers to smaller branches of bronchi – the bronchioles. They all come from the Greek word ‘bronchos’
for windpipe and are used in such instances as bronchorrhea which is excessive secretion
of mucus in the bronchi or bronchiolectasis which refers to dilation of bronchioles. We’re now moving to alveol- or alveol/o-
with the O at the end – of course, refers to the terminal part of the bronchioles, the
alveoli. An example is alveolitis which is an inflammation
of the alveoli. We’re in the lungs now which are, without
a doubt, the best part of the whole respiratory system. We have a few roots related to the lungs too
like the Latin-based pulm- or pulm/o- with the O at the end or pulmon- or pulmon/o- with
the O at the end, like in intrapulmonary. We also have the root word pneumo- or pneumon-
or pneumon/o- with the O at the end which comes from the Greek word for lung. For instance, pneumomelanosis is the blackening
of lung tissue due to inhalation of inorganic particles such as those from smoking. pleur- or pleur/o- with the O at the end,
of course, refers to the pleura covering the lungs. For instance, one can develop a pleurolith
or calcified nodule within the pleural cavity. And, finally, terms related to the respiratory
diaphragm often contain the root phren- or phren/o- with the O at the end such as the
phrenic nerve or phrenoplegia. Phren- can also refer to conditions of the
mind. Of course, you’ll also get the more obvious
diaphragm- or diaphragm/o- popping up like in diaphragmatic which means related to the
diaphragm. If we’re talking about the respiratory system,
we can’t avoid talking about breathing, right? There is one mighty root which occurs in terminology
related to breathing and that is spir- or spir/o- which comes from the Latin word ‘spirare’
meaning to breathe. It’s where we get the term respiration. In addition to the terms, inspiration, the
action of breathing in, and expiration or breathing out. You’ll also see the root spir- or spir/o-
with the O at the end used in clinical practice in terms like spirometer which is an instrument
used to measure lung function by recording the amount of air inhaled and exhaled out
of the lungs. Ventilation also refers to breathing. Perhaps the best known example of it is hyperventilation
– abnormally fast and deep breathing. It, of course, has a counterpart – hypoventilation
– which is slow, shallow breathing. We also have inhalation or breathing in and
exhalation or breathing out – united by the Latin origin of their root from the word
‘halare’ meaning to breathe. Of course, if there is a Latin word for breathing,
we have to have a Greek equivalent, right? I’m talking about the root word -pnea such
as you eupnea which describes the state of normal breathing or apnea which refers to
cessation of breathing especially during sleep. Of course, we can’t forget the other function
of the respiratory system – making sounds. We have the suffix -phonia relating to the
voice or sound such as egophony which is a word used to describe odd, broken, high-pitched
sound similar to that of a goat. So, obviously, we don’t just breathe for nothing. It’s all about the exchange of the gases
oxygen and carbon dioxide and we have two word parts here. Ox- or ox/o with the O at the end, oxi- with
an I, or oxy- with a Y are, of course, for our beloved oxygen and they’re pretty versatile. Check it out as a prefix in oxyhemoglobin,
as a root in hypoxemia, and in hypoxia. For every ying, there is always a yang and
the opposite of oxygen-related terms are those related to carbon dioxide. The suffix -capnia comes from the Greek term
for carbon or smoke and refers to conditions related to the CO2. An example will be acapnia – the absence
of carbon dioxide in the blood. A lot of this terminology relates to the cardiovascular
system. The gases are carried around the body by blood
after all, and don’t forget, we have a video dedicated to the cardiovascular system in
this series. So go and check it out if you haven’t already. Let’s move on to our favorite clinical terminology. That’s what we’re here for as healthcare
professionals after all. Continuing with the theme of blood, we have
a couple of conditions for you here. Epistaxis comes from the Greek ‘epistazein’
and simply means nosebleed. Hemoptysis is a term which means coughing
and spitting up blood or a bloody sputum from the trachea, bronchi, or lungs as what may
occur with inflammation or cancer of these organs. First is hemothorax, simply meaning blood
in the pleural cavity. In contrast, pneumothorax is accumulation
of air in the pleural cavity. The pleural cavity refers to the space between
the lungs and the chest wall. And, moving on, we have some general medical
terminology for you. Would you like to have a guess what tussis
stands for? Well, it might surprise you this fun little
word stands for a simple cough. You’ll see it pop up in words like pertussis,
the term for an infection disease commonly known as whooping cough. Ronchus is the abnormal low pitch rattling
sound heard in the lungs due to obstruction of the airways, for example, due to excess
secretions. Stridor, on the other hand, is the harsh high-pitched
sound of inhalation or exhalation due to obstructed airways. Atelectasis is the term for partially or fully
collapsed lung. Pulmonary edema refers to accumulation of
fluid in the lungs. Then we have respiratory infections. Obviously, we can’t not mention influenza,
of course, more commonly known as flu, caused by the influenza virus. Tuberculosis, again, a very well-known contagious
infectious disease mostly affecting the lungs caused by tubercle bacillus or Mycobacterium
tuberculosis; get its name from the bacterial nodules or lumps which form in the lungs due
to this condition. Then we have pneumonia, which is an infection
of the lungs caused by a wide range of factors: bacteria, fungi, parasites, amoebae, and viruses
such as the influenza virus. And, of course, we have the chronic pulmonary
diseases that we need to talk about. Asthma might just be the best known chronic
disease of the airways. It periodically causes the airways to spasm
and narrow leaving the individual breathless and the airways much more sensitive to various
irritants. Emphysema is a chronic respiratory disease
where the overinflation of alveoli causes weakened lung function. We also have pneumoconiosis, an umbrella term
generally describing occupational diseases caused by chronic inhalation of particles. The diseases can be specified by the type
of particle inhaled. Some are pretty obvious such as asbestosis
or silicosis. Others are not so easy to figure out like
anthracosis, which is a disease caused by inhalation of coal dust, probably know it
as Miner’s lung. Now to finish up, let’s have a quick round
of some respiratory system abbreviations. COPD is chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. We have URTI stands for upper respiratory
tract infection. ARDS is acute respiratory distress syndrome. And, finally, you might see CXR on the medical
charts. It stands for chest x-ray. And that wraps up this video on the terminology
of the respiratory system. Hope you didn’t get too out of breath trying
to keep up. Before we finish up, here’s a little challenge
for you. Try to figure out what these terms might mean
and let us know your answers in the comments below. To continue learning more about the respiratory
system, go to our website where we have a beautiful atlas of human anatomy
and tons of articles related to this topic and don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube
channel for more videos like this one. We’ll see you in the next installment of
our series on the digestive system.

7 thoughts on “Respiratory system – Anatomical terminology for healthcare professionals | Kenhub”

  1. Hi everyone! Hope you enjoyed watching episode 7 of our Anatomical Terminology for Healthcare Professionals series. Don't forget to leave your answers for the question we asked on this video. If you're looking to continue learning more about the anatomy of the respiratory system, we have the right tools for you! Check out our main website where we cover the human body from head to toe: Have fun learning!

  2. When I first joined med school I was always that person in class to obsess over words and their origin. This is such an important series that nobody has done before. Great job Kenhub!

  3. Weird question: but even after consulting Google, I’m still not sure how a pneumothorax occurs. Can you plz do a video on that?

  4. Can anybody here recommend the premium subscription of KenHub? I’m an occupational therapy student and anatomy is a integral part of the education. I’m on my first semester. I think the requirement of knowledge of an occupational therapy student isn't as extensive as for example an physical therapy student – but we need to acquire a relative deep knowledge. Since I’m on a student budget I’m really having doubts about whether or not I should purchase the premium subscription..

    Anyone had good experieces with KenHub premium?

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