Improving Hands-free Speech Rehabilitation in Patients With a Laryngectomy: Proof-of-Concept of an Intratracheal Fixation Device

Maartje Leemans, Maarten J.A. van Alphen, Richard Dirven, Gijsbertus J. Verkerke, Edsko E.G. Hekman, Michiel W.M. van den Brekel*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Permanent hands-free speech with the use of an automatic speaking valve (ASV) is regarded as the optimal voice rehabilitation after total laryngectomy. Due to fixation problems, regular ASV use in patients with a laryngectomy is limited. We have developed an intratracheal fixation device (ITFD) composed of an intratracheal button augmented by hydrophilic foam around its shaft. This study evaluates the short-term effectiveness and experienced comfort of this ITFD during hands-free speech in 7 participants with a laryngectomy. We found that 4 of 7 participants had secure ASV fixation inside the tracheostoma during hands-free speech for at least 30 minutes with the ITFD. The ITFD’s comfort was perceived positively overall. The insertion was perceived as being mildly uncomfortable but not painful. This proof-of-concept study demonstrates the feasibility of the ITFD that might improve stomal attachment of ASVs, and it provides the basis for further development toward a prototype suitable for long-term daily use.

Original languageEnglish
JournalOtolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery (United States)
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print/First online - 5 Jan 2021

Keywords

  • automatic speaking valve
  • hands-free speech
  • intratracheal fixation
  • speech rehabilitation
  • total laryngectomy
  • tracheostoma valves

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