Airflow and Pressure Characteristics of Three Different Tracheostoma Valves

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Tracheoesophageal speakers can achieve speech without digital occlusion by using a tracheostoma valve. Laryngectomized patients who are successful with this device can regain considerable freedom. However, little is known about which valve suits the patient best. Valve aerodynamics may give a guideline for its use. Three major tracheostoma valves, each divided into four subtypes, were repeatedly measured in this study. Dynamic pressure and airflow rate signals were sampled through an analog-digital interface into a computer. Considerable aerodynamic differences were observed between the tested valves. The maximum airflow rates, closing pressures, and resistances at low velocities were compared. The presented data may help increase the successful use of tracheostoma valves in tracheoesophageal speakers. Patient factors and additional valve factors should always be taken into account. Further clinical study to validate the clinical relevance of the data is needed.

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