Respiratory System Part 1

Respiratory System Part 1

This is Part 1 of a two-part series on the respiratory system (the lungs!).  In Part 1, we will cover the three main functions of the respiratory system: gas exchange, thermoregulation and protection against disease. We will also be reviewing key molecules of the lungs, like elastin and surfactant, and common respiratory diseases, such as COPD.

At a glance


Essential skills

  • Know your basic gas laws surrounding volume, pressure, and partial pressure

  • Apply knowledge fundamentals to possible lung disorders like COPD, collapsed lungs, and edema


Knowledge Fundamentals

  • Luna anatomy and function

  • Expiration and inspiration

  • Mechanical ventilation

  • Lung compliance

  • Elastin and surfactant

  • Gas exchange and the partial pressure gradient


On the MCAT

  • The respiratory system is not a high yield area, but it is heavily integrated into other systems (like the circulatory and renal systems)

  • Some respiratory questions may be disorder based. You don't need to be a physician to figure out possible cuases, but you do have to pay attention to question stem information!


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