Air Flow in a Patient with a Tracheotomy

A tracheotomy operation is a procedure where a hole is cut in the patient's trachea to provide an alternative route for air to enter and leave the lungs. After the patient's trachea has been opened a plastic or metal tube, called a tracheotomy tube, is inserted and held in place. A scan was performed on a tracheotomy patient following tracheotomy surgery. Based on this scan the airways and tracheostomy tube were segmented and meshed for CFD analysis in ANSYS Fluent.


  • Based on in vivo CT data
  • Multi-part model generation
  • CFD analysis in ANSYS Fluent

Thanks to

G. Tabor, University of Exeter

Image Processing

An in vivo scan was performed on a patient following tracheotomy surgery. Based on this scan data the airways and the tracheotomy tube were segmented.

Mesh Generation

The trachea and implant (Hood™ stoma stent) were meshed using the +FE module. The boundary conditions for fluid simulation were set up and a mesh was exported in ANSYS Fluent format.


The simulation performed replicated gentle exhalation at a flow rate of 30 cm3/s with the implant initially closed and then open. The results shown in the image above illustrate the velocity magnitude and total pressure on this plane for the “closed-implant” case.

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