Anatomy & Physiology Gastrointestinal #11


Which structure of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract is also a structure of the respiratory tract?


  1. Liver
    • Rationale:

      The liver is an accessory structure of the GI tract or digestive system. The liver is not both a GI and respiratory tract structure.

  2. Larynx
    • Rationale:

      The larynx is a structure of the respiratory system; however, the epiglottis is attached to the larynx. The epiglottis is a structure that assists in preventing food within the GI tract from entering the respiratory tract.

  3. Pharynx
    • Rationale:

      The pharynx is both a GI and respiratory tract structure. The pharynx specific function for the GI tract is to receive fluids and food from the mouth via swallowing.

  4. Esophagus
    • Rationale:

      The esophagus is a hollow, long, and straight structure that starts at the pharynx (i.e., throat) and ends at the stomach. The esophagus is lined with smooth muscles that move and propel fluids and food along the GI tract via peristalsis.


The GI tract includes the organs responsible for the digestive process.


Learning Outcomes

Two structures are classified as both digestive and respiratory system structures. The pharynx and the epiglottis are both GI structures that are also classified as respiratory tract structures. The pharynx receives food from the mouth for digestion while also receiving air from the nares or the mouth for ventilation.

Test Taking Tip

Consider the structure and function of each choice when determining the correct response for this question.

Video Rationale