Study organizers enrolled 10 patients prospectively to assess their voice and swallowing function after placement of a hypoglossal nerve stimulator for sleep apnea. Patients who were scheduled for the procedure completed a baseline Voice Handicap Index (VHI-10) and Eating Assessment Tool (EAT-10), and then completed the assessments again at one week, three months, and six months following the procedure.
Explore This IssueJune 2017
The researchers found a significant spike in scores one week after the implantations, but the use of this device was not associated with any sustained, patient-reported changes in voice handicap and swallowing function. They acknowledged that no exclusion criteria or objective performance measures were used. “Future investigations are warranted,” Bowen said, “with a greater sample size, more stringent inclusion criteria, and more objective measurements.”
Thomas R. Collins is a freelance writer living in South Florida.