Particle deposition in airways of chronic respiratory patients exposed to an urban aerosol

Benjamin Horemans, Cedric Van Holsbeke, Wim Vos, Larysa Darchuk, Velibor Novakovic, Angel Conesa Fontan, Jan De Backer, Rene Ernest Vangrieken, Wilfried De Backer, Karolien De Wael

    Research output: Contribution to journalA1: Web of Science-articlepeer-review


    Urban atmospheres in modern cities carry characteristic mixtures of particulate pollution which are potentially aggravating for chronic respiratory patients (CRP). Although air quality surveys can be detailed, the obtained information is not always useful to evaluate human health effects. This paper presents a novel approach to estimate particle deposition rates in airways of CRP, based on real air pollution data. By combining computational fluid dynamics with physical-chemical characteristics of particulate pollution, deposition rates are estimated for particles of different toxicological relevance, i.e. minerals, iron oxides, sea salts, ammonium salts and carbonaceous particles. Also, it enables some qualitative evaluation of the spatial, temporal and patient specific effects on the particle dose upon exposure to the urban atmosphere. Results show how heavy traffic conditions increases the deposition of anthropogenic particles in the trachea and lungs of respiratory patients (here, +0.28 and +1.5 µg h-1, respectively). In addition, local and synoptic meteorological conditions were found to have a strong effect on the overall dose. However, the pathology and age of the patient was found to be more crucial, with highest deposition rates for toxic particles in adults with a mild anomaly, followed by mild asthmatic children and adults with severe respiratory dysfunctions (7, 5 and 3µg h-1, respectively).
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalEnvironmental Science & Technology
    Issue number21
    Pages (from-to)12162–12169
    Publication statusPublished - 6-Nov-2012


    • P300-analytical-chemistry
    • P305-environmental-chemistry


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