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Computational Fluid Dynamics In The Assessment Of Patients' Postoperative Status After Glottis-widening Surgery.

Magdalena Marków, D. Janecki, Bogusława Orecka, M. Misiołek, K. Warmuziński
Published 2017 · Medicine

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BACKGROUND Computational fluid dynamics (CFD), a rapidly developing instrument with a number of practical applications, allows calculation and visualization of the changing parameters of airflow in the upper respiratory tract. OBJECTIVES The aim of this study was to demonstrate the advantages of CFD as an instrument for noninvasive tests of the larynx in patients who had undergone surgical treatment due to bilateral vocal fold paralysis. MATERIAL AND METHODS Surface measurements of the glottic space were made during maximum adduction of the vocal folds. Additionally, the following spirometric parameters were determined: forced vital capacity (FVC), forced expiratory volume in the first second (FEV1), and peak expiratory flow (PEF) rate. Based on the measurements, commercial mesh generation software was used to develop a geometrical model of the glottic space. The computations were carried out using a general purpose CFD code. The analysis included patients who were surgically treated for BVFP in the authors' department between 1999 and 2012. The study group consisted of 22 women (91.67%) and 2 men (8.33%). RESULTS It was observed that the pressure drop calculated for free breathing depends on the area of the glottis and is independent of its shape. Importantly, for areas below approx. 40 mm2, a sudden rise occurred in the resistance to flow; for the smallest glottic areas studied, the pressure drop was almost 6 times higher than for an area of 40 mm2. Consequently, in cases of areas below 40 mm2 even minor enlargement of the glottic opening can lead to a marked improvement in breathing comfort. CONCLUSIONS Computational fluid dynamics is a useful method for calculating and visualizing the changing parameters of airflow in the upper respiratory tract.
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