Computational fluid dynamics evaluation of excessive dynamic airway collapse

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Excessive dynamic airway collapse, which is often caused by the collapse of the posterior membrane wall during exhalation, is often misdiagnosed with other diseases; stents can provide support for the collapsing airways. The standard pulmonary function tests do not necessarily show change in functional breathing condition for evaluation of these type of diseases.


Flow characteristics through a patient's airways with excessive dynamic airway collapse have been numerically investigated. A stent was placed to support the collapsing airway and to improve breathing conditions. Computed tomography images of the patient's pre- and post-stenting were used for generating 3-Dimensional models of the airways, and were imported into a computational fluid dynamics software for simulation of realistic air flow behavior. Unsteady simulations of the inspiratory phase and expiratory phase were performed with patient-specific boundary conditions for pre- and post-intervention cases to investigate the effect of stent placement on flow characteristic and possible improvements.


Results of post-stent condition show reduced pressure, velocity magnitude and wall shear stress during expiration. The variation in wall shear stress, velocity magnitude and pressure drop is negligible during inspiration.


Although Spirometry tests do not show significant improvements, computational fluid dynamics results show significant improvements in pre- and post-treatment results, suggesting improvement in breathing condition.

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