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New CFD tools to evaluate nasal airflow


Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) is a mathematical tool to analyse airflow. As currently CFD is not a usual tool for rhinologists, a group of engineers in collaboration with experts in Rhinology have developed a very intuitive CFD software. The program MECOMLAND® only required snapshots from the patient’s cross-sectional (tomographic) images, being the output those results originated by CFD, such as airflow distributions, velocity profiles, pressure, temperature, or wall shear stress. This is useful complementary information to cover diagnosis, prognosis, or follow-up of nasal pathologies based on quantitative magnitudes linked to airflow. In addition, the user-friendly environment NOSELAND® helps the medical assessment significantly in the post-processing phase with dynamic reports using a 3D endoscopic view. Specialists in Rhinology have been asked for a more intuitive, simple, powerful CFD software to offer more quality and precision in their work to evaluate the nasal airflow. We present MECOMLAND® and NOSELAND® which have all the expected characteristics to fulfil this demand and offer a proper assessment with the maximum of quality plus safety for the patient. These programs represent a non-invasive, low-cost (as the CT scan is already performed in every patient) alternative for the functional study of the difficult rhinologic case. To validate the software, we studied two groups of patients from the Ear Nose Throat clinic, a first group with normal noses and a second group presenting septal deviations. Wall shear stresses are lower in the cases of normal noses in comparison with those for septal deviation. Besides, velocity field distributions, pressure drop between nasopharynx and the ambient, and flow rates in each nostril were different among the nasal cavities in the two groups. These software modules open up a promising future to simulate the nasal airflow behaviour in virtual surgery intervention scenarios under different pressure or temperature conditions to understand the effects on nasal airflow.

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The authors acknowledge the access to the patient database of the University Hospital Virgen del Rocío of Sevilla (Spain). Authors also thank Medical Doctor Vania Nova Juiz and Fco. M. Piqueras Pérez from Hospital Morales Meseguer of Murcia (Spain) for their helpful comments to improve the programs MECOMLAND® and NOSELAND®.

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Correspondence to C. del Pino.

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All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

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Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

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Burgos, M.A., Sanmiguel-Rojas, E., del Pino, C. et al. New CFD tools to evaluate nasal airflow. Eur Arch Otorhinolaryngol 274, 3121–3128 (2017).

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