Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Mechanical Engineering

First Advisor

Ramana Pidaparti

Second Advisor

Worth Longest

Third Advisor

Kevin Ward

Fourth Advisor

Dianne Pawluk

Fifth Advisor

Shijian Chu

Sixth Advisor

Mohamed Gad-el-Hak


Mechanical ventilation (MV) is a system that partially or fully assists patients whose respiratory system fails to achieve a gas exchange function. However, MV can cause a ventilator-associated lung injury (VALI) or even contribute to a multiple organ dysfunction syndrome (MODS) in acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) patients. Despite advances in today technologies, mortality rates for ARDS patient are still high. A better understanding of the interactions between airflow from mechanical ventilator and the airway could provide useful information used to develop a better strategy to ventilate patients. The mechanisms, which mechanical ventilation induces airway inflammation, are complex processes and cover a wide range of spatial scales. The multiscale model of the airway have been developed combining the computational models at organ, tissue, and cellular levels. A model at the organ level was used to study behaviors of the airway during mechanical ventilation. Strain distributions in each layer of the airway were investigated using a model at the tissue level. The cellular inflammatory responses during mechanical ventilation were investigated through the cellular automata (CA) model incorporating all biophysical processes during inflammatory responses. The multiscale modeling framework started by obtaining airway displacements from the organ-level model. They were then transferred to the tissue-level model for determining the strain distributions in each airway layer. The strain levels in each layer were then transferred to the cellular-level model for inflammatory responses due to strain levels. The ratio of the number of damage cells to healthy cells was obtained through the cellular-level model. This ratio, in turn, modulated changes in the Young’s modulus of elasticity at the tissue and organ levels. The simulation results showed that high tidal volume (1400 cc) during mechanical ventilation can cause tissue injury due to high concentration of activated immune cells and low tidal volume during mechanical ventilation (700 cc) can prevent tissue injury during mechanical ventilation and can mitigate tissue injury from the high tidal volume ventilation. The multiscale model developed in this research could provide useful information about how mechanical ventilation contributes to airway inflammation so that a better strategy to ventilate patients can be developed.


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Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

May 2009

Included in

Engineering Commons