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Discover more about the EPSRC Centres for Doctoral Training at the University
of Leeds


EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Fluid Dynamics

Modelling of flow patterns in the large airways of the lung during artificial ventilation

Lead Academic Supervisor

Dr Alan Burns (School of Chemical and Process Engineering) - lead academic supervisor


Dr Andy Lumb (School of Medicine), Dr Ali Hassanpour (School of Chemical and Process Engineering) and Dr Yousef Motlagh (School of Chemical and Process Engineering)


Biomedical Science and Engineering


Artificial ventilation of patients is part of routine clinical care during anaesthesia, and in patients with  respiratory failure. Most of these patients require an artificial airway in the form of a tracheal tube to deliver the ventilation in patients unable to breathe naturally. These tubes are relatively small compared with the natural airway,  so flow patterns are very different to normal breathing, with higher gas velocities which can therefore affect the distribution of gas flow to and from different lung regions. A model of this clinical situation could explore the:

  • model’s validity in vivo by comparing CFD results with clinical measures of regional ventilation using electrical impedance tomography
  • effects of different flow patterns and timings used for artificial ventilation, e.g. high frequency ventilation or an inspiratory pause
  • effects on flow to different lung regions when taking into account differing regional compliance values as occurs in different patient positions
  • design of tracheal tubes currently available, and their potential performance in vivo
  • application of the model to individual patients by creating meshes from 3-D scans to investigate abnormal airways. St James’s Hospital is the regional centre for thoracic surgery so has a large patient population with airway problems