Communication after laryngectomy. An assessment of patient satisfaction

K S Clements, C H Rassekh, H Seikaly, J A Hokanson, K H Calhoun
Archives of Otolaryngology—Head & Neck Surgery 1997, 123 (5): 493-6

OBJECTIVES: To determine the satisfaction of patients with their current method of alaryngeal communication. To focus primarily on the patients' perception of their own speech.

DESIGN: A retrospective review of patients who underwent total laryngectomy for malignancy identified 4 groups of patients. A survey using a mailed questionnaire was used to compare groups.

SETTING: Tertiary care university hospital, University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston.

PATIENTS: Forty-seven patients underwent total laryngectomy for cancer and survived. Thirty-one of the 47 patients responded to the survey. Patients were divided into 4 groups by their current method of communication: (1) tablet writers; (2) esophageal speech; (3) electrolarynx; and (4) tracheoesophageal speech.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Satisfaction with communication, satisfaction with speech quality, ability to communicate over telephone, limitation of interaction with others, and satisfaction with quality of life.

RESULTS: Patients in group 4 were significantly more satisfied with their speech (P < .001), perceived their speech to be of better quality (P < .001), had improved ability to communicate over the telephone (P < .001), and had less limitation of their interactions with others (P < .004). Patients in group 4 also rated their overall quality of life higher (P = .23).

CONCLUSION: Although many studies in the past have demonstrated the objective superiority of tracheoesophageal speech compared with other methods of alaryngeal communication, most studies have focused on the intelligibility of speech judged by listeners. This study demonstrates that patients who use tracheoesophageal speech rate their own speech significantly higher than patients who use other methods and most likely have an overall superior quality of life.

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