Modelling and simulation of the larynx

Project coordinator: Assoc. Prof. Alexander Lundervold


The objective of the project is to understand the role of organs for various diseases and pathologies. The main focus is on modeling and simulation of the larynx, aiming to understand its role for breathing problems, e.g. exercise induced laryngeal obstruction. The goal is to uncover which obstructions in the larynx leads to problems, and why. The methods developed can also be used for other organs and organ systems.

A good and flexible computational model of the larynx can give a way to simulate the airflow. After careful validation through comparisons with observations based on laryngoscopy and various measurement techniques, the simulations can potentially suggest surgical procedures for various respiratory issues.

The computational model will be based on tools from mathematics, physics and computer simulation. By changing values of variables characterizing the model the effect of such changes on the real larynx can be predicted.

The different phenomena and processes taking part in organs and organ systems are highly coupled, and must be simulated using a “multiphysics” approach. Several interacting pieces are modeled by different physics and governing equations: fluid mechanics (airflow, blood flow) and structural or solid mechanics (behavior of biological material). For the larynx the fluid­-structure interaction is particularly relevant.

The model construction is an iterative process, starting from a simple inlet­-outlet model through a simplified geometry, adding features and phenomena until the simulation agrees with real experiments to a sufficiently high degree. To achieve this the model will eventually be based on images from CT and/or MR images of the real larynx.

The model will be validated by comparing simulated and experimental results. Sensitivity analysis will also be performed, where the impact of small changes of the material properties or in the geometry (e.g. image segmentation accuracy) on the simulation results are measured.

The experimental results will be obtained from aerodynamic measurements made by the larynx working group based in Bergen, consisting of researchers from HUS, UiB and HiB. In addition, the project will make use of measurements taken from race horses by researchers at NMBU (Norwegian University of Life Sciences). The experimental results for airway pressure in horses are more detailed than in humans. As the larynges of horse and human are similar, the results are at least partly transferable.

Once the model is properly validated we can simulate a wide range of scenarios that are experimentally difficult, e.g. the effect of modifying tissue.

Challenges and research questions



Getting started

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