Nasal irrigation is a widely recognized treatment for several sinonasal diseases. However, there is a lack of clear evidence-based guidelines for optimal irrigation delivery to improve lavage and topical drug delivery. This study uses computational fluid dynamics (CFD) to assess the effects of different head tilt positions on sinonasal coverage, residence time and shear stresses in squeeze-bottle nasal irrigation. A sinonasal cavity computational model was constructed from a high-resolution CT scan of a healthy, 25-year-old Asian female. The Volume of Fluid method was used to track the interface between the two immiscible fluids (air and water). The direction of gravity was varied to simulate different head tilt-positions (0° Straight, 45° Forward, 45° Left, 45° Right and 45° Backward) during nasal irrigation with 150 mL liquid via a squeeze bottle through the left nostril for 2 s with a 0.1 s acceleration/deceleration time. The results showed that the 45° backward head tilt position was the most effective in delivering irrigation to the ethmoid, frontal and sphenoid sinuses. Altering head tilt had minimal impact on irrigation delivery to the maxillary sinuses. Maximum wall shear stresses seen in localized areas of the sinus mucosa varied significantly with different head tilt angles. However, the difference in mean wall shear stress on the sinus surfaces was marginal with changing head tilt position. The findings suggest that an optimized head tilt position can be identified to improve liquid irrigation to targeted sinuses, as per treatment requirements (lavage and topical drug delivery).
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