The Virtual Pediatric Airways Workbench
Upper airway problems in young children may lead to life threatening respiratory difficulties, poor growth, aspiration, delay in speech development and long-term illness. Treatment of these children is typically directed by the clinician¿s experience and preference, rather than by published protocols or quantitative measures of airway physiology and anatomy. Improved methods of evaluating and determining best treatment options would benefit clinical care and outcomes. At UNC, we are building the Virtual Pediatric Airways Workbench (VPAW) as a unified interface to tie airway segmentation algorithms, geometric modeling, and fluid dynamics simulations together into one system that a physician can use. The end goal is to provide a tool for use by physicians to make more informed decisions about clinical interventions. VPAW consists of four main components: segmentation, geometry editing, simulation, and visualization. It uses stereo display and haptic feedback to improve the surgical modeling user experience. In this talk, I will discuss these components and report initial results using it to model airflow on patients with subglottic stenosis, a narrowing of the airway below the vocal cords.