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BioMed Research International
Volume 2017, Article ID 7058519, 5 pages
Research Article

The Finite Element Simulation of the Upper Airway of Patients with Moderate and Severe Obstructive Sleep Apnea Hypopnea Syndrome

1Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, EENT Hospital of Fudan University, Shanghai, China
2School of Medicine and Public Health, Department of Surgery, Division of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI, USA

Correspondence should be addressed to Jack J. Jiang; ude.csiw@gnaijjj

Received 26 April 2017; Accepted 16 August 2017; Published 24 October 2017

Academic Editor: Rao Hengyi

Copyright © 2017 Huiping Luo et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Objectives. To investigate the snoring modes of patients with Obstructive Sleep Apnea Hypopnea Syndrome and to discover the main sources of snoring in soft tissue vibrations. Methods. A three-dimensional finite element model was developed with SolidEdge to simulate the human upper airway. The inherent modal simulation was conducted to obtain the frequencies and the corresponding shapes of the soft tissue vibrations. The respiration process was simulated with the fluid-solid interaction method through ANSYS. Results. The first 6 orders of modal vibration were 12 Hz, 18 Hz, 21 Hz, 22 Hz, 36 Hz, and 39 Hz. Frequencies of modes 1, 2, 4, and 5 were from tongue vibrations. Frequencies of modes 3 and 6 were from soft palate vibrations. Steady pressure distribution and air distribution lines in the upper airway were shown clearly in the fluid-solid interaction simulation results. Conclusions. We were able to observe the vibrations of soft tissue and the modeled airflow by applying the finite element methods. Future studies could focus on improving the soft tissues vibration compliances by adjusting the model parameters. Additionally, more attention should be paid to vibrational components below 20 Hz when performing an acoustic analysis of human snore sounds due to the presence of these frequencies in this model.