Respiratory Anatomy

an interactive multimedia program to teach basic anatomy and mechanical function of the respiratory system to undergraduate students

by Gordon Findlater, James Shaw and Rachel Ellaway, Department of Biomedical Sciences and Learning Technology Section, Medical School, The University of Edinburgh

The highly interactive program is designed to support the teaching of respiratory anatomy and provide is a resource for student-centred learning and tutorial teaching. It covers the basic anatomy and mechanical function of the respiratory system and is divided into several sections accessible from a menu:

Basic Anatomy:

  • Chest Wall - bones (vertebrae, ribs, sternum), intercostal muscles, diaphragm (structure, nerve & blood supply), accessory respiratory muscles, visceral & parietal pleurae.
  • Lungs - development of pleural cavity, pleural membranes, lung structure, blood supply, lymphatics, innervation).
  • Nose and nasal cavity - structure, innervation, blood supply, sinuses, conchae
  • Pharynx - wall, muscles, innervation, blood supply.
  • Larynx - epiglottis, cartilages, control of the airway, vocal cords.
  • Trachea - structure, blood supply, innervation.
  • Bronchi - structure of bronchial tree, innervation.
  • Alveoli - structure, cells (macrophages, pneumocytes).

Mechanical Function:

  • Breathing - diaphragmatic, animated movements of chest wall, animated radiographs. outSpeech - animated vocal cord movements.

There are lots of features to enhance learning. High quality graphics (thumbnails which may be 'zoomed' for greater detail), diagrams, animations and video-clips (e.g. vocal cord movement) are used extensively to explain principles such as how the respiratory muscles and diaphragm interact to cause inspiration and expiration. There are also self-assessment questions attached to each section. Additional features include: a notes function (notes may be created as you work through the package, copied to the clipboard and pasted into a word- processing package or e-mail); an alphabetical index of structures which allow access directly to the relevant screen describing that structure.

Hardware requirements: PC (minimum specification: Pentium PC, Windows 95/98/NT4, 16 Mb RAM, 10 Mb available HD space, 16 bit colour graphics) or Macintosh (minimum specification Power PC, 16 Mb RAM, OS 7.5, 10 Mb free HD space, 16 bit colour graphics) platforms.

Target audience: Undergraduate courses where a knowledge of anatomy is important e.g. medicine, biological sciences, and health-related courses e.g. physiotherapy, occupational therapy. The program would occupy students for 4-6 hours of study and is suitable for primary learning.

Price: 250 includes multiuser (departmental) licence.


ISBN 1-874758-37-9
©1997 Sheffield Bioscience Programs

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