Double Blind Study Investigating the Effect of Different Voice Prostheses on Ease of Swallowing and Residue Post Laryngectomy.
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Voice prostheses have been examined for their effect on voice production but there is little datum on their effect on swallow function. This study investigated the difference between six commonly available voice prostheses in terms of swallowing. Laryngectomy patients had up to six voice prostheses placed in a random order over two visits. Swallowing was evaluated for each prosthesis using FEES (Fibreoptic Endoscopic Evaluation of Swallowing). After each prosthesis trial, patients self-evaluated their experience of swallowing. Three independent experts indicated which prosthesis they considered best for swallowing for each patient and judged residue on the voice prosthesis and in the upper esophagus. Raters were blinded to participant details, voice prosthesis type and scores of other raters. On patient self-evaluation, scores were equally distributed across all prostheses for swallowing. Experts most frequently chose the Blom Singer Low pressure and Blom Singer Classic Indwelling voice prostheses as best for swallowing but consensus was poor for most patients. Experts found that the Blom Singer Classic Indwelling and the Provox Vega had least residue on the voice prosthesis on thin liquid (p ≤ 0.001) and soft (p = 0.001), respectively. Experts also found that the Blom Singer Low Pressure had least residue in the upper esophagus on soft consistency (p ≤ 0.001). While self-evaluation by patients did not identify a consistently preferred prosthesis for swallow, many patients expressed personal preferences, suggesting benefits to involving patients in the choice of prosthesis. Some voice prostheses may be associated with lower levels of residue on the prosthesis and upper esophagus with certain consistencies.
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