NCLEX : Upper Respiratory Tract

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for NCLEX

varsity tutors app store varsity tutors android store

Example Questions

Example Question #1 : Upper Respiratory Tract

What chamber of the upper respiratory tract is shared by both the respiratory and digestive systems?

Possible Answers:

The esophagus

The soft palate

The sinuses

The pharynx

Correct answer:

The pharynx

Explanation:

The only chamber of the upper respiratory tract that is shared by both the respiratory and the digestive systems is the pharynx. The pharynx is the part of the throat that is immediately posterior to the mouth and the nasal cavity, and superior to the trachea, larynx, and esophagus. 

Example Question #2 : Upper Respiratory Tract

Which of the following is not a division of the pharynx?

Possible Answers:

The laryngopharynx

The sinopharynx

The nasopharynx

The oropharynx

Correct answer:

The sinopharynx

Explanation:

The pharynx is made up of three divisions: the laryngopharynx, the oropharynx, and the nasopharynx. There is no portion of the pharynx called the sinopharynx. 

Example Question #3 : Upper Respiratory Tract

Which of the following pairs of sinus is absent at birth, and is not fully developed until puberty?

Possible Answers:

The ethmoid sinus

The frontal sinus

The sphenoid sinus

The maxillary sinus

Correct answer:

The frontal sinus

Explanation:

The frontal sinuses are not present at birth. They begin to develop in the first few years of life, but they are not fully mature until after adolescence. The sphenoid, maxillary, and ethmoid sinuses are present at birth, though they are underdeveloped and similarly do not mature fully till late childhood or adolescence. 

Example Question #4 : Upper Respiratory Tract

Which of the following is a flap of cartilage that covers the opening of the windpipe during swallowing to prevent aspiration?

Possible Answers:

The hyoid

The epiglottis

The tracheal cartilage

The cricoid cartilage

Correct answer:

The epiglottis

Explanation:

The small flap of cartilage that covers the windpipe to prevent aspiration during swallowing is the epiglottis. It is located at the base of the tongue and attached to the entrance of the larynx.

Example Question #5 : Upper Respiratory Tract

Which of the following maintains the lumen of the trachea?

Possible Answers:

The cervical spine

Air pressure within the respiratory tract

The infrahyoid muscles

The tracheal cartilages

Correct answer:

The tracheal cartilages

Explanation:

The lumen of the trachea is maintained by the tracheal cartilages, a set of approximately 20 separate c-shaped rings of hyaline cartilage. The non-continuous cartilage allows for greater flexibility during inspiration and expiration.  

Example Question #21 : Circulatory And Respiratory Systems

Which of the following best describes the epithelium of the trachea?

Possible Answers:

Cuboidal epithelium with cilia and goblet cells.

Transitional cells with cilia and goblet cells.

Pseudostratified columnar cells with cilia and goblet cells.

Stratified squamous epithelium with cilia and goblet cells.

Correct answer:

Pseudostratified columnar cells with cilia and goblet cells.

Explanation:

The epithelium of the trachea is made up of pseudostratified columnar cells with cilia and goblet cells. 

Example Question #22 : Circulatory And Respiratory Systems

What structure is directly posterior to the trachea?

Possible Answers:

The cervical spine

The thyroid gland

The esophagus

The pharynx

Correct answer:

The esophagus

Explanation:

The esophagus is directly posterior to the trachea, and the cervical spine is posterior to the esophagus. The thyroid gland is anterior to the trachea. The pharynx is superior to both the trachea and the esophagus.

Example Question #23 : Circulatory And Respiratory Systems

What does the trachea bifurcate into?

Possible Answers:

Left and right secondary bronchi

Left and right primary bronchi

Left and right primary bronchioles

Left and right secondary bronchioles

Correct answer:

Left and right primary bronchi

Explanation:

The trachea bifurcates into the left and right primary bronchi. This occurs at a location called the carina, which is at the level of T4-T5. 

Example Question #24 : Circulatory And Respiratory Systems

A nurse is about to perform an upper respiratory exam on a patient with sinusitis. Which of the following sinuses are inaccessible for assessment by physical exam due to their placement deep within the skull?

Possible Answers:

The maxillary and sphenoid sinuses

The ethmoid and sphenoid sinuses

The maxillary and frontal sinuses

The frontal and ethmoid sinuses

Correct answer:

The ethmoid and sphenoid sinuses

Explanation:

The only sinuses that can be assessed on physical exam are the frontal and maxillary sinuses. The sphenoid and ethmoid sinuses are too deep in the skull to be assessed via physical examination.

Learning Tools by Varsity Tutors

Incompatible Browser

Please upgrade or download one of the following browsers to use Instant Tutoring: