Anatomy, Physiology, and Embryology of the Upper Airway

Cameron D. Wright

Key Points

  • The length of the adult trachea is about 11 cm, and its width is about 2.3 cm.
  • The trachea grows steadily throughout childhood, and published data are available to predict length and width.
  • The tracheal blood supply comes from two primary sources: tracheoesophageal branches from the inferior thyroid artery and ascending branches from the bronchial arteries.
  • The trachea is enveloped in a connective tissue sheath, a fact that has surgical and pathologic implications.

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Last updated: October 18, 2022