bannerHON
img
HONnews
HONnews
img PATIENT / PARTICULIER img PROFESSIONNEL DE SANTE img WEBMESTRE img
img
 
img
HONcode sites
All Web sites
HONselect
News
Conferences
Images

Themes:
A B C D E F G H I
J K L M N O P Q
R S T U V W X Y Z
Browse archive:
2014: O S A J J M A M F J
2013: D N O

 
  Other news for:
Hospitals
Technology, Medical
Respiration Disorders
Speech Disorders
Stress
 Resources from HONselect
Device May Restore Speech to People on Breathing Tubes
Doctors say 'electrolarynx' eased frustration for patient on mechanical ventilator

By Brenda Goodman
HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, March 19, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Doctors in the Netherlands say they've found a potentially important new use for a simple old device -- the "electronic voice box." It may help hospitalized patients who've lost the ability to speak because they need tubes down their throat to help them breathe.

The electronic voice box, or "electrolarynx," was first developed in the 1920s. It's a cylinder, about the size of an electric shaver that vibrates at one end. It's been used almost exclusively to help people who've lost their ability to speak because their vocal cords have been surgically removed, often after cancer.

"It's mostly been used in the past. It's something I saw when I was a student. I saw a patient who was able to talk with the device and it made a huge impression on me," said Dr. Armand Girbes, an intensive care physician at VU University Medical Center, in Amsterdam.

The device came to mind again when a patient's wife recently came to Girbes to say that her husband, who was on a mechanical ventilator after lung surgery, was frustrated because he couldn't speak. Girbes searched the hospital to dig up the only electrolarynx they still had.

"I tried it myself. I put it on my neck," he said.

After a few minutes of practice, which Girbes said felt a little bit like lip-synching, he used his mouth and tongue to form words without actually trying to make the sounds himself -- and he was able to produce intelligible words.

His 59-year-old patient got the hang of it just as quickly.

"I still remember the first thing he said to his wife: He said 'Hello, my dear.' That was very moving to hear from a patient who was critically ill in intensive care," Girbes said.

He reported his success in the March 20 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

"I think it's an interesting idea," said Dr. Lindsay Reder, an assistant professor of otolaryngology at the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles. She was not involved in the patient's case.

"A lot of these patients who are intubated are also on sedation medication because it's not the most comfortable thing," Reder said.

For his part, Girbes said a side benefit of using the electrolarynx in ventilated patients is that they might need less sedation (because of reduced stress). Delirium and oversedation are major problems for patients in intensive care units.

Reder said that's an interesting theory, but one that requires more research to prove for certain.

"I think it's something we'd obviously need to do more of it in a controlled way to know if it's widely applicable, but I do think it's an interesting thing from a quality-of-life and quality-of-care standpoint," she said.

More information

For ways to help a loved one be comfortable during a stay in the intensive care unit, visit the Safe Patient Resource Center.

SOURCES: Armand Girbes, M.D., Ph.D., intensive care physician, VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam; Lindsay Reder, M.D., assistant professor, otolaryngology, Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California, Los Angeles; March 20, 2014, New England Journal of Medicine

Copyright © 2014 HealthDay. All rights reserved. URL:http://consumer.healthday.com/Article.asp?AID=685959

Resources from HONselect: HONselect is the HON's medical search engine. It retrieves scientific articles, images, conferences and web sites on the selected subject.
Equipment and Supplies
Speech
Intensive Care
Ventilators, Mechanical
Spouses
The list of medical terms above are retrieved automatically from the article.

Disclaimer: The text presented on this page is not a substitute for professional medical advice. It is for your information only and may not represent your true individual medical situation. Do not hesitate to consult your healthcare provider if you have any questions or concerns. Do not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting a qualified healthcare professional.
Be advised that HealthDay articles are derived from various sources and may not reflect your own country regulations. The Health On the Net Foundation does not endorse opinions, products, or services that may appear in HealthDay articles.


Home img About us img MediaCorner img HON newsletter img Site map img Ethical policies img Contact