Eur J Phys Rehabil Med. 2021 Oct 15. doi: 10.23736/S1973-9087.21.06946-X. Online ahead of print.
BACKGROUND: Brain damage can affect several functions related to speech production leading to dysphonia and dysarthria. Most rehabilitation treatments focus on articulation training rather than on pneumophonic coordination and respiratory muscle strength. Respiratory training using an Intermitted Positive Pressure Breathing (IPPB) ventilator can be used for this last purpose; no agreement on a standard protocol has been reached to date.
AIM: To evaluate the feasibility and the effectiveness of a standardized incremental protocol of respiratory training using IPPB to treat dysphonia and dysarthria.
DESIGN: Case series study.
SETTING: Neuropsychological Rehabilitation Unit in an Italian Neurorehabilitative Division.
POPULATION: Thirty two subjects with dysphonia and dysarthria resulting from neurological lesion.
METHODS: Participants were assessed using clinical evaluation scales (GIRBAS scale of dysphonia, Robertson dysarthria profile), respiratory function test, and arterial blood gas analysis in air. The evaluations were performed at baseline and after 20 sessions of respiratory training with IPPB. The protocol provided a default increment of ventilator parameters. All subjects also underwent a standard speech and language therapy treatment. A satisfaction survey to assess acceptability and the Goal Attainment Scale were applied.
RESULTS: All participants fulfilled the protocol. No complications or discomfort were reported. Subjects’ satisfaction at survey was 97.7%. After respiratory training, all respiratory function parameters increased, but only Maximal Voluntary Ventilation (MVV), Maximum Inspiratory Pressure (MIP), and Maximum Expiratory Pressure (MEP) were statistically significant (p<0.05). Clinical evaluation scales significantly improved (p<0.05). Correlation between respiratory function parameters and clinical evaluation scales showed a moderate correlation between MVV, MEP, MIP, and Robertson dysarthria profile (p<0.01). A weak correlation was found between MIP, MVV, and GIRBAS scale (p<0.05).
CONCLUSIONS: Our protocol showed to be practical and well-tolerated. After respiratory training, MVV, MIP and MEP improved in significantly. Clinical scale scores improved in all participants.
CLINICAL REHABILITATION IMPACT: Respiratory training using IPPB ventilator can be useful in implementing speech and language treatments in subjects with dysphonia and dysarthria linked to brain injury.
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