Speech rehabilitation after total laryngectomy: long-term results with indwelling voice prosthesis Blom-Singer.
To evaluate long-term use of indwelling Blom-Singer voice prosthesis (VP) for vocal rehabilitation of patients submitted to total laryngectomy (TL). We studied the influence of time of performance of tracheo-esophageal puncture (TEP), use of radiotherapy (XRT), patients' age and length of follow-up, on the rate of success of use of VP. STUDY DESIGN: Clinical prospective. MATERIAL AND METHOD: Seventy-one patients were submitted to TL and rehabilitated with indwelling VP. Both otolaryngologist and speech pathologist evaluated all patients for the vocal functional issues during the follow-up. The relative data on time of placement of VP, time of use of PF, use of XRT, age, length of follow-up and interval of duration of each VP were recorded during the follow-up. RESULTS: There was 87% of patients with primary TEP and 13% with secondary. The follow-up varied from 12 to 87 months, with average of 38 months for primary and 51 months for secondary TEP. There were 59% of patients submitted to XRT. The general rate of success was of 94%. In primary TEP it was of 97% and in the secondary, it was 78% (p=0.07) and after two years, the success rate was of 96% in primary TEP and 75% in secondary TEP (p=0.07). The use of XRT and patient age did not influence the success of use of VP among primary and secondary TEP, independently of length of follow-up. CONCLUSION: Tendency to greater success rate in voice rehabilitation after TL with primary TEP was observed. Postoperative XRT and age did not influence success rate. (+info)
Intensity and fundamental frequency control in tracheoesophageal voice.
Tracheo-oesophageal voice prostheses are currently widely used following total laryngectomy. Data on maximum phonation time and spectrum have been studied by various Authors and are well known. On the contrary, intensity and fundamental frequency control have received little attention. Intensity and fundamental frequency play an important role in the prosodic aspects of speech. Fundamental frequency variations have been studied in tone language speakers, but the ability to voluntarily change intensity and fundamental frequency remain to be fully investigated. Aim of the present study was to analyse the ability of tracheo-oesophageal voice users to change intensity and fundamental frequency. A total of 12 male subjects who underwent total laryngectomy, in whom a tracheo-oesophageal prosthesis had been inserted, were considered. Maximum phonation time was calculated. Each subject was asked to utter an /a/ as loud as possible and an /a/ as soft as possible. Each subject was then asked to utter an /a/ at comfortable pitch and then at an interval of a fifth. Intensity as well as fundamental frequency variations were compared using Wilcoxon signed rank test. Correlation between maximum phonation time and variation in intensity and in fundamental frequency as well as between the two latter variables was calculated using Spearman's rank correlation coefficient. Mean maximum phonation time was 8 (+/- 3.8) sec. Mean energy was 50 (+/- 4.8) dB SPL for soft phonation and 68 (+/- 4.7) dB SPL for loud phonation. The difference observed was statistically significant (p < 0.02). Mean fundamental frequency values were 106 (+/- 14) Hz and 135 (+/- 34) Hz at the interval of a fifth. The difference observed was statistically significant (p < 0.02). Tracheo-oesophageal voice users were able to change intensity and fundamental frequency, but their control was rather poor. Variations in intensity, as well as fundamental frequency, did not show any correlation with maximum phonation time, and were not correlated with each other. In conclusion, the tracheo-oesophageal voice allows small fundamental frequency variations, but their control appears difficult. On the contrary, intensity variations appear larger and control somewhat easier. (+info)
Respiratory dysfunction and management in spinal cord injury.
Respiratory dysfunction is a major cause of morbidity and mortality in spinal cord injury (SCI), which causes impairment of respiratory muscles, reduced vital capacity, ineffective cough, reduction in lung and chest wall compliance, and excess oxygen cost of breathing due to distortion of the respiratory system. Severely affected individuals may require assisted ventilation, which can cause problems with speech production. Appropriate candidates can sometimes be liberated from mechanical ventilation by phrenic-nerve pacing and pacing of the external intercostal muscles. Partial recovery of respiratory-muscle performance occurs spontaneously. The eventual vital capacity depends on the extent of spontaneous recovery, years since injury, smoking, a history of chest injury or surgery, and maximum inspiratory pressure. Also, respiratory-muscle training and abdominal binders improve performance of the respiratory muscles. For patients on long-term ventilation, speech production is difficult. Often, practitioners are reluctant to deflate the tracheostomy tube cuff to allow speech production. Yet cuff-deflation can be done safely. Standard ventilator settings produce poor speech quality. Recent studies demonstrated vast improvement with long inspiratory time and positive end-expiratory pressure. Abdominal binders improve speech quality in patients with phrenic-nerve pacers. Recent data show that the level and completeness of injury and older age at the time of injury may not be related directly to mortality in SCI, which suggests that the care of SCI has improved. The data indicate that independent predictors of all-cause mortality include diabetes mellitus, heart disease, cigarette smoking, and percent-of-predicted forced expiratory volume in the first second. An important clinical problem in SCI is weak cough, which causes retention of secretions during infections. Methods for secretion clearance include chest physical therapy, spontaneous cough, suctioning, cough assistance by forced compression of the abdomen ("quad cough"), and mechanical insufflation-exsufflation. Recently described but not yet available for general use is activation of the abdominal muscles via an epidural electrode placed at spinal cord level T9-L1. (+info)
A numerical study of the flow-induced vibration characteristics of a voice-producing element for laryngectomized patients.
A computational model for exploring the design of a voice-producing voice prosthesis, or voice-producing element (VPE), is presented. The VPE is intended for use by laryngectomized patients who cannot benefit from current speech rehabilitation techniques. Previous experiments have focused on the design of a double-membrane voice generator as a VPE. For optimization studies, a numerical model has been developed. The numerical model introduced incorporates the finite element (FE) method to solve for the flow-induced vibrations of the VPE system, including airflow coupled with a mass-loaded membrane. The FE model includes distinct but coupled fluid and solid domains. The flow solver is governed by the incompressible, laminar, unsteady Navier-Stokes equations. The solid solver allows for large deformation, large strain, and collision. It is first shown that the model satisfactorily represents previously published experimental results in terms of frequency and flow rate, enabling the model for use as a design tool. The model is then used to study the influence of geometric scaling, membrane thickness, membrane stiffness, and slightly convergent or divergent channel geometry on the model response. It is shown that physiological allowable changes in the latter three device parameters alone will not be sufficient to generate the desired reduction in fundamental frequency. However, their effects are quantified and it is shown that membrane stiffness and included angle should be considered in future designs. (+info)
OBJECTIVES: The goal of this study was to determine whether speech breathing changes over time in laryngectomy patients who use an electrolarynx, to explore the potential of using respiratory signals to control an artificial voice source. METHODS: Respiratory patterns during serial speech tasks (counting, days of the week) with an electrolarynx were prospectively studied by inductance plethysmography in 6 individuals across their first 1 to 2 years after total laryngectomy, as well as in an additional 8 individuals who had had a laryngectomy at least 1 year earlier. RESULTS: In contrast to normal speech that is only produced during exhalation, all individuals were found to engage in inhalation during speech production, and those studied longitudinally displayed increased occurrences of inhalation during speech production with time after laryngectomy. These trends appear to be stronger for individuals who used an electrolarynx as their primary means of oral communication rather than tracheoesophageal speech, possibly because of continued dependence on respiratory support for the production of tracheoesophageal speech. CONCLUSIONS: Our results indicate that there are post-laryngectomy changes in the speech breathing behaviors of electrolarynx users. This has implications for designing improved electrolarynx communication systems, which could use signals derived from respiratory function as one of many potential physiologically based sources for more natural control of electrolarynx speech. (+info)
Tracheostoma humidifier: influence on secretion and voice of patients with total laryngectomy.