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Clinical Investigations: ESOPHAGUS |

Satisfaction of Patients Treated Surgically for Intractable Aspiration*

Yoshihisa Takano, MD; Moritaka Suga, MD, PhD; Osamu Sakamoto, MD, PhD; Keizo Sato, MD, PhD; Yasuhiro Samejima, MD, PhD; Masayuki Ando, MD, PhD, FCCP
Author and Funding Information

*From the First Department of Internal Medicine (Drs. Takano, Suga, Sakamoto, Sato, and Ando) and Department of Otorhinolaryngology (Dr. Samejima), Kumamoto University School of Medicine, Kumamoto, Japan.

Correspondence to: Moritaka Suga, MD, First Department of Internal Medicine, Kumamoto University School of Medicine, 1–1-1 Honjo, Kumamoto 860-0811, Japan; e-mail: suga@gpo.kumamoto-u.ac.jp



Chest. 1999;116(5):1251-1256. doi:10.1378/chest.116.5.1251
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Study objective: Impaired laryngeal protective function can result in intractable aspiration requiring surgical treatment. There are, however, few reports evaluating the satisfaction of patients and the efficacy of surgical therapy. The purpose of this study is to determine whether surgery for intractable aspiration is beneficial for alleviating depression and improving the mood of patients who have undergone surgical treatment and whether patients and their families are satisfied with the therapy.

Patients and study design: Seven patients with recurrent aspiration pneumonia that could not be controlled by appropriate medical therapies participated in the study. These patients had no hope of recovering laryngeal function. Six underwent laryngectomy and one underwent laryngotracheal separation. After surgery, we evaluated the efficacy of the therapy and the patients’ satisfaction with the therapy.

Methods: The following clinical variables concerning surgical procedure were examined: operation time, time until oral intake, videofluorographic study, and surgical complications. The treatment methods including feeding status were also examined before and after surgery. In addition, the following markers were examined to evaluate the efficacy of the surgery: score of aspiration pneumonia, body mass index, total protein, albumin, hematocrit, WBC count, C-reactive protein, erythrocyte sedimentation rate, and the Barthel Index, an indicator of daily activity. Furthermore, the grade of depression and mood, and satisfaction of patients and their caretakers among family members were scored by the Zung self-rating depression scale, a 20-picture face scale, and the visual analog scale.

Results: After surgical therapy, we confirmed by videofluorography that aspiration was completely prevented. No surgical complications occurred. By 18 ± 6 days, all seven patients were able to ingest a meal orally. The need for extensive medical care and repeated hospitalizations became unnecessary after surgery. The control of pneumonia and albumin improved significantly. The grade of depression and mood of patients and their families also improved significantly. Satisfaction scores of patients receiving therapy were very high.

Conclusions: Our study shows that surgical therapy to prevent aspiration improves the depression and mood of patients and their families as well as feeding status and clinical outlook. Surgical therapy for patients with intractable aspiration is effective and beneficial.

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