Indexed on: 23 Oct '03Published on: 23 Oct '03Published in: Dysphagia
This study examined the effects of tracheostomy cuff deflation and one-way speaking valve placement on swallow physiology. Fourteen nonventilator-dependent patients completed videofluoroscopic swallow studies (VFSS) under three conditions: (1) cuff inflated, (2) cuff deflated, and (3) one-way valve in place. Four additional patients with cuffless tracheostomy tubes completed VFSS with and without the one-way valve in place. All swallows were analyzed for the severity of penetration/aspiration using an 8-point penetration-aspiration scale. Seven preselected swallow duration measures, extent of hyolaryngeal elevation and anterior excursion, and oropharyngeal residue were also determined. Scores on the penetration-aspiration scale were not significantly affected by cuff status, i.e., inflation or deflation. However, one-way valve placement significantly reduced scores on the penetration-aspiration scale for the liquid bolus. Patients who are unable to tolerate thin liquids may be able to safely take thin liquids when the valve is in place. However, one-way valve placement may not be beneficial for all patients. Clinicians who complete VFSS with tracheostomized patients should include several bolus presentations with a one-way speaking valve in place before making any decisions regarding the use of the valve as a means to reduce aspiration.