Objective: To evaluate the effects of new devices-heat and moisture exchangers (HMEs) and adhesives-on pulmonary symptoms, subject adherence, quality of life, dermatologic symptoms, and patient satisfaction after laryngectomy.
Study design: Prospective crossover study.
Setting: Between December 2020 and April 2021, 40 patients were enrolled who had undergone laryngectomy, routinely used HMEs and adhesive, and were followed in our Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery.
Methods: Patients were allocated into group A (new products) or group B (usual care) for 6 weeks. Then the 2 groups reversed, and each patient acted as his or her own control. Patients kept a diary and cough tally sheet. At baseline and after each 6-week period, 2 questionnaires were administered: EQ-5D (European Quality of Life-5 Dimensions) and CASA-Q (Cough and Sputum Assessment Questionnaire).
Results: Six weeks of using new products resulted in the following effects for both groups: (1) a significant reduction in daily forced expectoration and dry coughs, (2) a significant improvement in all domains of the CASA-Q, (3) an increase in adherence to HME use, (4) a significant reduction in shortness of breath and skin irritation, and (5) significantly better scores in the anxiety/depression domain of the EQ-5D.
Conclusion: Achieving this reduction in patients who were already highly adherent to HME use is clinically relevant and underscores the importance of using better-performing HMEs that can compensate for the humidification deficit. Improving pulmonary symptomatology could reduce patient restrictions in daily life and avoidance of social activity, with a consequent positive effect on quality of life.
Keywords: devices; pulmonary health; quality of life; rehabilitation; total laryngectomy.