Improvements in Respiratory and Psychosocial Functioning following Total Laryngectomy by the Use of a Heat and Moisture Exchanger

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A prospective clinical study in 61 patients was undertaken to investigate the subjective and objective influence of a heat and moisture exchanger (HME) on the respiratory and psychosocial problems following total laryngectomy. Although statistical comparisons failed to detect significant differences between the experimental and the control groups, there was a clear trend toward improvements in respiratory and psychosocial functioning in the experimental group. Analyses of differences over time within the HME user group showed significant reductions in the incidence of coughing, the mean daily frequency of sputum production, forced expectoration, and stoma cleaning. Significant improvements were also found in shortness of breath, fatigue and malaise, sleep problems, levels of anxiety and depression, and perceived voice quality. Pulmonary function tests showed significant improvements in inspiratory flow and volume values following use of the HME. This objective improvement in inspiratory pulmonary function reflects the decrease in sputum production reported by the patients.

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