We are pleased to offer it as a standard of care at Acuity Specialty Hospital.

When a loved one suffers a traumatic event that results in the placement of a tracheostomy tube, one of the more frequently overlooked complications is loss of voice and speech. The ability to speak is something many of us take for granted. Can you imagine being in the hospital and losing the ability to communicate your wants or needs? How frustrating it would be to have person after person come to your bedside trying to read your lips to no avail? Sadly, many patients experience this situation after having a tracheostomy tube placed.

A tracheostomy tube may be used to help manage or support a patient’s breathing and/or their ability to clear mucous and saliva. It is typically placed in the trachea below the vocal chords. Some patients have tracheostomy tubes for only short periods of time while others have them long term. In both cases, because of the placement of the tracheostomy tube, patients frequently have difficulty moving their vocal chords. This in turn may affect their ability to speak, swallow, and/or cough.

One tool to help improve a patient’s ability to use their vocal chords is a Passy-Muir Valve (PMV). A PMV is a one-way speaking and swallowing valve which can be placed on the tracheostomy tube or in-line with ventilator tubing. It allows a patient to inhale through their tube but exhale up out of their mouth. This way, a patient can still receive the breathing support they need but may be able to restore their voice.

After meeting criteria and receiving an order from the doctor, a speech-language pathologist (SLP) and/or a respiratory therapist (RT) will trial a PMV with a patient. The SLP will then continue to work with the patient to strengthen their voice, swallow, and cough.

Whether for short or long term, tracheostomy patients have the potential to live a full, satisfying life. The Passy-Muir Valve is one of the more rewarding tools used to increase a patient’s quality of life. We are pleased to offer it as a standard of care at Acuity Specialty Hospital. To learn more about the Passy-Muir Valve, visit http://passy-muir.com/

Lynette Lattin, MS, CCC-SLP