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WIREs Syst Biol Med
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Multiscale image‐based modeling and simulation of gas flow and particle transport in the human lungs

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Improved understanding of structure and function relationships in the human lungs in individuals and subpopulations is fundamentally important to the future of pulmonary medicine. Image‐based measures of the lungs can provide sensitive indicators of localized features, however to provide a better prediction of lung response to disease, treatment, and environment, it is desirable to integrate quantifiable regional features from imaging with associated value‐added high‐level modeling. With this objective in mind, recent advances in computational fluid dynamics (CFD) of the bronchial airways—from a single bifurcation symmetric model to a multiscale image‐based subject‐specific lung model—will be reviewed. The interaction of CFD models with local parenchymal tissue expansion—assessed by image registration—allows new understanding of the interplay between environment, hot spots where inhaled aerosols could accumulate, and inflammation. To bridge ventilation function with image‐derived central airway structure in CFD, an airway geometrical modeling method that spans from the model ‘entrance’ to the terminal bronchioles will be introduced. Finally, the effects of turbulent flows and CFD turbulence models on aerosol transport and deposition will be discussed. WIREs Syst Biol Med 2013, 5:643–655. doi: 10.1002/wsbm.1234 This article is categorized under: Analytical and Computational Methods > Computational Methods Models of Systems Properties and Processes > Organ, Tissue, and Physiological Models

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Mesh generation process: (a) CT image, (b) 1D tree where the black solid lines are paths of interest to the left upper lobe and (c) 3D geometry generated along the black lines in (b).
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(a) Side view of a CT‐based airway model. The rm is the radius of the mouthpiece. (b) The left to right lung (L/R) particle ratio as a function of the particle normalized release location at the mouth piece in (a) (the shaded area). rc = (ri + ro)/2. He, helium; He23, helium with a ventilation ratio of 2:3; He–O2, helium–oxygen; Xe–O2, xenon–oxygen mixture.
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Contours of speed of inspiratory air in a vertical plane at the middle of the airway model (side view). The velocity vectors at the outlets are displayed in pink. The Re in the trachea is 1380.
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Top panel: outlet velocity vectors (pink) and pressure contours for the three different outlet BCs: (a) image‐based BC; (b) uniform velocity BC; and (c) uniform pressure BC. (d) Lobar distributions of flow rate ratio for the three different outlet BCs.
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(a) Reference (TLC) image and (b) floating (FRC) image for one subject. Red, airway tree; blue, vessel tree; cyan, lobes; green spheres, the landmarks at the bifurcations of the vessel tree. Registration‐derived heterogeneous regional ventilation: (c) side view, (d) front view.
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The 3D CFD grid: (a) 3D geometry, (b) computational grid in terminal airways, (c) airway segment volume, (d) airway segment wall, (e) cross section.
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Analytical and Computational Methods > Computational Methods
Models of Systems Properties and Processes > Organ, Tissue, and Physiological Models

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