In silico investigation of sneezing in a full real human upper airway using computational fluid dynamics method.Comput Methods Programs Biomed 2019; 177:203-209CM
BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVE
Sneezing is one of the most critical conditions that can occur in the human upper airway. As some reports confirm the injury to the human upper respiratory airway while sneezing. Therefore, the accurate study of the distribution of pressure and velocity in this case is of great importance.
In the present study, using a real human upper airway model, the pressure and velocity of the airflow generated in the tract during the sneezing have been investigated. Also, considering the results from a spirometer device as a boundary condition in the simulation process, the calculations have become reliable.
According to the results, during sneezing, taking into account that the average outlet flow rate from the mouth is 4.79 L/s, the velocity of outlet airflow from the mouth and nose reaches 5.3 and 8.4 m/s, respectively. These values were 11.5 and 19, respectively, when the desired maximum flow rate was 10.58 L/s. It can be concluded that the increasing of trachea flow rate, leads to higher percentage of the outlet flow rate from the nose . The highest average pressure and velocity have been occurred in the trachea. Among other salient results of this report, increased average static pressure of larynx to approximately 10 kPa can be pointed which indicates that this area is critical so that the thyroid cartilage defect is likely to occur. It is also noteworthy that the increase of speed at nasopharynx is up to 125 m/s so that the cross-section changing in this area leads the fluid acts as a jet flow. Due to the specific geometry of the nasal cavity, some streams similar to poor shocks are formed, these shocks get stronger by increasing of the flow rate. The thyroid cartilage and nasal cavity are exposed to maximum static pressure extremums, respectively.
We introduced a model simulating a normal sneezing for two cases using a healthy 30-year-old male person. We believe that the model should be applied for different persons and an atlas of data could be obtained from different cases. This may help the medical system to have more data about the sneezing process.