The Safety and Efficacy of Expiratory Muscle Strength Training for Rehabilitation After Supracricoid Partial Laryngectomy: A Pilot Investigation

Andrew D. Palmer, Rachel Bolognone, Skipp Thomsen, Deanna Britton, Joshua Schindler, Donna Graville

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Objectives: Expiratory muscle strength training (EMST) is a safe, effective intervention that can be performed at home and may be beneficial for individuals with voice and swallowing disorders. To date there have been few studies of EMST in the head and neck cancer population, and there are no previous reports of its use after supracricoid partial laryngectomy (SCPL). The current prospective clinical pilot study was undertaken to determine the safety and efficacy of a 4-week treatment program. Methods: Six participants were recruited who had previously undergone SCPL, were medically stable, and had no contraindications for use of the device. At baseline, objective respiratory measurements were collected, dietary status was recorded, and participants were asked to complete a series of validated self-report instruments relating to voice, swallowing, breathing, and cough. Following the completion of treatment, baseline measures were repeated, and participant feedback was solicited. Results: The majority of individuals found the device easy to use (83%) and beneficial (83%). The side effects of treatment were relatively minor and included dizziness, muscle inflammation, and vocal fatigue. There were improvements in 2 measures from before to after treatment, namely, an average 21% increase in peak cough flow (from 371.67 to 451.33 L/min) and a 38% decrease on the Dyspnea Index (from 6.17 to 3.83). Other measures showed inconsistent changes. Conclusions: EMST appeared to improve cough strength and reduce dyspnea symptoms after SCPL. Further study of the relative efficacy of EMST compared to other rehabilitation protocols after SCPL is needed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)169-176
Number of pages8
JournalAnnals of Otology, Rhinology and Laryngology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2019



  • cough
  • dyspnea
  • partial laryngectomy
  • rehabilitation
  • swallowing
  • voice

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology

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