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Bronchi Meaning

IVSAT 2024

Respiration is an act of exchange of gases between the surrounding environment and the living organism. The respiratory system looks after the process by a respiratory tract. This respiratory tract includes the nose, mouth, pharynx, larynx, windpipe, airways, and lungs. 

Let us learn in detail about these airways. The airways include bronchi and bronchioles. Bronchi are the plural form of the bronchus. It represents the passageway to the lungs. It is found in branches, the first bronchi branch is found at the trachea. There are main branches of lung bronchi namely left and right bronchi. These branches enter into the left and right lungs respectively. Later they branch further in the lungs to form secondary bronchi. The bronchi continue to divide until the sixth generation. Every generation is been supported by a cartilage wall. Whereas at the sixth generation the bronchi become narrower to get supported by the cartilage. These are called bronchioles.

We got to know what is bronchioles and bronchi? Let us look at the anatomy, functions, and how they get diseased and the prevention.

Bronchi and Bronchioles Anatomy

A bronchus or bronchi is also considered as main or primary bronchi. It represents the airway that conducts the air to the lungs through the respiratory tract. The trachea gets divided into the left and right bronchus, which is also called tracheal bifurcation. The right bronchus is wider than the left bronchus and it is shorter and vertical. The right main bronchi consist of three subdivisions. These subdivisions become secondary bronchi which are also known as lobar bronchi. Initially, the right pulmonary artery lies below the right bronchus laters gets shifted to the front.

In contrast to the right bronchus left bronchus is smaller in size and longer than the right bronchus. The left bronchus enters the left lung by crossing the oesophagus. It gets subdivided into two lobes called lobar bronchi. The left pulmonary artery is initially found lying above the left bronchus later it gets gifted to the front. The secondary bronchi will be subdivided into tertiary bronchi which are known as segmental bronchi. Each of these contains a bronchopulmonary segment.

A bronchopulmonary segment is a separate division of the lung and it is differentiated by a septum of connective tissue. The right lung includes ten bronchopulmonary segments and the left lung includes eight bronchopulmonary segments. These segmental bronchi further divide into tertiary bronchioles and later form respiratory bronchioles. Each of these bronchioles divides to form alveolar ducts which consist of alveolar sacs.

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Bronchi Function

These small structures can perform major functions in the body, let us have a look at the bronchi and bronchioles function.

  • The bronchi are mainly involved in the transportation of air to the lungs. 

  • It helps to remove the foreign particles.

  • The airways are lined with mucus, this helps to keep the airways moist. 

  • Mucus acts as a trap for the virus, bacteria and other foreign particles to avoid infection.

  • The bronchi are filled with tiny hair-like structures called cilia.

  • The cilia help to remove the infection causing germs from the lungs. When a person sneezes or coughs the germs are removed through the mucus.

  • Whereas the main function of bronchioles is to deliver air to the alveoli.

Medical Conditions

  1. Asthma: It is one of the major illnesses caused to the respiratory system at the bronchial level. Bronchi are hyperactive to the components called allergens. They cause inflammation and restrict the entrance of air into the lungs. This results in difficulty breathing, shortness of breath, and reduces the oxygen levels that are required for cellular processes. 

  2. Aspiration: If any kind of foreign object is inhaled accidentally, it often gets lodged in any one of the bronchi. People who have difficulties while eating and swallowing the food. Inhaled substances can later attract the bacteria present in the surroundings that lead to aspiration pneumonia. It can turn out to cause no harm to death.

  3. Bronchitis: Bronchitis can be defined as an inflammation occurred in the bronchi, it can be an acute or a chronic condition. Acute bronchitis is caused due to several infections caused by viruses or bacteria. Patients who are suffering from chronic bronchitis are often found infected by chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Where the common associations to chronic bronchitis will be smoking or long-term exposure to any irritants. In diseases that occur in COPD, the alveoli are found to be damaged or destroyed. This can reduce the surface area that is available for undertaking effective gas exchange.

  4. Surfactant Production: The surfactants or surface-active agents like phospho-lipoprotein are produced. These are distributed by type II alveolar epithelial cells, and they are absorbed by type I alveolar epithelial cells. This surfactant decreases the surface tension of the alveoli, therefore it is easier for the lungs to expand.


Because there exist various different types of diseases and respective conditions that can affect the bronchi. Even the treatments can vary widely depending on the condition and it ranges from using medications to undergoing complex surgeries.

  1. Bronchodilators: These are the medications that help in the relaxation of the muscles that are present around the air passages. In turn, it makes the process of breathing easier as the airway openings get wider. They are mainly used in the treatment of asthma. These are usually administered with the help of a nebulizer or an inhaler along with a spacer.

  2. Corticosteroids: These types of drugs can reduce or prevent the inflammation found in the lungs. They help in reducing the swelling present in the airways and decreases the amount of production of mucus. Like bronchodilators, these medications can be given with the help of a nebulizer or an inhaler with a spacer.

  3. Oxygen Therapy: Due to the bronchial conditions if the levels of oxygen present in the blood get reduced then a supplement of oxygen is often necessary. It is done either for an acute condition temporarily or for a chronic condition such as COPD permanently. Oxygen therapy is usually provided in hospitals, but it is also possible to use with the help of home-based equipment. Oxygen is usually delivered with the help of an oxygen cannula or with a specialized face mask.

  4. Airway Clearance Devices: Hand-held devices such as Oscillating Positive Expiratory Pressure (PEP) and Intrapulmonary Percussive Ventilation (IPV) can be used to break the mucus.

  5. Chest Physical Therapy (CPT): CPT is a type of technique that is used for the loosening of mucus build-up. This technique involves clapping on the chest region in different ways. Electronic chest clappers and vests are available and are majorly used to perform this technique.


Bronchi function in respiratory system to carry the air to and from the lungs. Along with this the bronchi is also involved to moisturize the air while breathing and screening out certain foreign particles. The airways are found lining with the cells that create mucus.

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FAQs on Bronchi

1. How to keep our bronchi healthy?

To keep our bronchi, lungs and our entire respiratory system healthy, by following these steps we main have healthy respiratory system:

  • It is important to achieve and maintain a healthy weight for respective gender, age and body type.

  • It is required to keep the home clean and changing of the air filters regularly is necessary.

  • Regular exercise can strengthen the heart and lungs.

  • Exposure to the air pollution should be limited.

  • Should avoid smoking.

  • Usage of protective gears like face mask is necessary when a person is exposed to dust, allergens or chemical fumes regularly.

  • By following hand and oral hygiene certain respiratory infections can be prevented.

  • Avoiding crowds during the flu causing season is must.

2. What is bronchi? Where is it located?

The bronchi meaning is as follows, are the large tubes that connect to your trachea and direct the air you breathe to your right and left lungs. 

Bronchi location: Primary bronchi gets divided into the left and right main bronchi and enters to the upper portion of the lungs. The main bronchi divides to form secondary bronchi in the middle of the lungs, they are also called lobar bronchi. The secondary bronchi divides further to form tertiary bronchi that is present at the edge of the lungs. These are also called segmental bronchi.

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