The existence of obstructions such as tracheal stenosis has major impacts on respiratory functions. Therapeutic effectiveness of inhaled medications is influenced by tracheal stenosis, and particle transport and deposition pattern are modified. The majority of studies have focused on obstructions in branches of the airways, where the flow is diverted to the other branches to meet the needed oxygen intake. In this study we have investigated the effects of trachea with and without stenosis/obstruction on particle depositions and air flow in a human respiratory system. Patient specific CFD simulations were conducted; CT-scans of a patient with tracheal stenosis were used to create 3D models of bronchial tree up to 8 generations. The section of the stenosis was manually modified to create a healthy trachea. Comparisons between CFD simulations before and after intervention demonstrate the impact of the stenosis on flow characteristics and particles distribution. The numerical investigations were performed using the implicit Unsteady Reynolds-Averaged Navier-Stokes equation (U-RANS), using the commercially available software (STAR-CCM+) from CD-Adapco, along with K-ω; shear stress transport model. Two sets of CT-images of inhalation and exhalation were used for assigning Patient-specific boundary conditions at the outlets. Lagrangian Phase model was used to simulate particle transport and depositions of 10, 5 and 2.5 micron diameter particles. Results of the particle depositions for 10 micron particles highlight the difference in depositions and ultimately inhaled medications in patients with and without tracheal stenosis. Particle deposition for normal Tidal volume increased due to stenosis from 47% to 51% for 10 Micron particles and not a significant change for the 2.5 Micron particles (from 4.5% to 4.7%).

Comparisons of pressure drop in each generation between patient with tracheal stenosis and the healthy lung showed significant increase in pressure drop after the stenosis, which were experienced in all generations downstream. Experimental validation of the CFD results were made with a model of healthy trachea up to 3rd generation, manufactured using Additive Layer Manufacturing (ALM) from CT-images and pressure results were compared with the corresponding CFD results. Good agreements were found.

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