AskDefine | Define airway

Dictionary Definition



1 a duct that provides ventilation (as in mines) [syn: air passage, air duct]
2 a designated route followed by airplanes in flying from one airport to another [syn: air lane, flight path, skyway]
3 a commercial enterprise that provides scheduled flights for passengers [syn: airline, airline business]

User Contributed Dictionary




airway (plural airways)
  1. The trachea.


Extensive Definition

The airways are those parts of the respiratory system through which air flows, to get from the external environment to the alveoli.
The airway begins at the mouth or nose, and accesses the trachea via the pharynx. The trachea branches into the left and right main bronchi at the carina, situated at the level of the second thoracic vertebra. The bronchi branch into large bronchioles, one for each lobe of the lung. Within the lobes, the bronchi further subdivide some 20 times, ending in clusters of alveoli.
The epithelial surfaces of the airways contain cilia. Inhaled particles stick to mucus (secreted by goblet cells) which is continuously removed from the airways by these cilia. The airway epithelium also secretes a watery fluid upon which the mucus can ride freely. The production of this fluid is impaired by the disease cystic fibrosis. Macrophages are present in the airways. These cells protect the airways from infection by engulfing inhaled particles and bacteria.
Certain conditions require tracheal intubation to secure the airway. Airway devices are used to assist intubation.

External links

airway in German: Atemwege
airway in Polish: Drogi oddechowe
airway in Finnish: Hengitystiet

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

air duct, air hole, air lane, air line, air passage, air route, air shaft, air tube, blowhole, breathing hole, corridor, lane, louver, louverwork, naris, nostril, path, shaft, spilehole, spiracle, touchhole, transom, vent, ventage, venthole, ventiduct, ventilating shaft, ventilator, wind tunnel
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