Investigating mixing and emptying for aqueous liquid content from the stomach using a coupled biomechanical-SPH model
The stomach is a critical organ for food digestion but it is not well understood how it operates, either when healthy or when dysfunction occurs. Stomach function depends on the timing and amplitude of wall contractions, the fill level and the type of gastric content. Using a coupled biomechanical-Smoothed Particle Hydrodynamics (B-SPH) model, we investigate how gastric discharge is affected by the contraction behaviour of the stomach wall and the viscosity of the content. The results of the model provide new insights into how the content viscosity and the number of compression waves down the length of the stomach affect the mixing within and the discharge rate of the content exiting from the stomach to the duodenum. This investigation shows that the B-SPH model is capable of simulating complicated stomach behaviour. The rate of gastric emptying is found to increase with a smaller period in between contractile waves and to have a nonlinear relationship with content viscosity. Increased resistance to flow into the duodenum is also shown to reduce the rate of emptying. The degree of gastric mixing is found to be insensitive to changes in the period between contractile waves for fluid with a viscosity of water but to be substantially affected by the viscosity of the gastric content.