Tracheal stenosis: a flow dynamics study

Mark Brouns, Santhosh T. Jayaraju, Chris Lacor, Johan De Mey, Marc Noppen, Walter Vincken, Sylvia Verbanck
2007 Journal of applied physiology  
Patients referred for treatment of tracheal stenosis typically are asymptomatic until critical narrowing of the airway occurs, which then requires immediate intervention. To understand how tracheal stenosis affects local pressure drops and explore how a dramatic increase in pressure drop could possibly be detected at an early stage, a computational fluid dynamics (CFD) study was undertaken. We assessed flow patterns and pressure drops over tracheal stenoses artificially inserted into a
more » ... threedimensional upper airway model derived from multislice computed tomography images obtained in healthy men. Solving the Navier-Stokes equations (with a Yang-shih k-⑀ turbulence model) for different degrees of tracheal constriction located approximately one tracheal diameter below the glottis, the simulated pressure drop over the stenosis (⌬P) was seen to dramatically increase only when well over 70% of the tracheal lumen was obliterated. At 30 l/min, ⌬P increased from 7 Pa for a 50% stenosis to, respectively, 46 and 235 Pa for 80% and 90% stenosis. The pressure-flow relationship in the entire upper airway model (between mouth and end of trachea) in the flow range 0 -60 l/min showed a power law relationship with best-fit flow exponent of 1.77 in the absence of stenosis. The exponent became 1.92 and 2.00 in the case of 60% and 85% constriction, respectively. The present simulations confirm that the overall pressure drop at rest is only affected in case of severe constriction, and the simulated flow dependence of pressure drop suggests a means of detecting stenosis at a precritical stage. pressure drop Address for reprint requests and other correspondence: M. Brouns,
doi:10.1152/japplphysiol.01063.2006 pmid:17138831 fatcat:k2c3gph2x5d5bcr6wd7xrystum