A pilot study conducted by Unfallkrankenhaus Berlin (UKB) showed that long-term measurements with RehaIngest can be helpful in deciding whether a tracheal incision is necessary or whether an existing cannula should be removed or changed. After a stroke there is usually a high risk of developing severe swallowing disorders. To avoid complications, a tracheotomy (tracheal incision) often has to be performed. Depending on the extent of the disorder, the patient is given a temporary or permanent tracheal cannula, which directs the breathing air directly into the trachea.
So far, imaging methods such as endoscopy (FEES) or video fluoroscopy (VFSS) have been used as decision aids. However, these methods can only be used to evaluate snapshots of the swallowing process. It is not uncommon for patients to change their behavior when they no longer focus their attention on the swallowing examination. With RehaIngest it is possible to record and evaluate swallowing beyond the snapshot for up to six hours.
Study proves advantage of a long-term swallowing measurement
The pilot study examined whether a decision for or against the insertion or prolonged use of a tracheal cannula can be made on the basis of a long-term measurement with RehaIngest. To investigate this, the researchers of the UKB carried out a long-term measurement with RehaIngest in 13 patients and immediately afterwards an endoscopic examination was performed. The preliminary results show a correspondence between the measured parameters of the long-term measurement (extent and speed of larynx elevation) and the recommendations of an endoscopic swallow examination.
Even if a general statement is not yet possible due to the small patient group, the advantages of a long-term measurement have already been determined. Patients can be assessed for their ability to swallow under real conditions with little effort. RehaIngest is also easy to use and enables a new insight into swallowing disorders. A follow-up study with a larger population is already in progress.