Usually, the diagnosis is a shock: cancer of the larynx. And the treatment is also a cause for distress since it frequently means the complete removal of the larynx. The larynx has two functions in the body. On the one hand, it seals the trachea when swallowing so that no food or liquids can get into the lungs. On the other hand, it enables people to speak by setting air into vibration.
With the removal of the larynx, the esophagus and trachea must be separated physically from one another. The esophagus still leads to the mouth; however, the trachea ends in an artificially created opening called a stoma. The consequences for patients are immense, for this means that they can no longer speak unaided. Only with a shunt valve in the throat can air flow back into the mouth and make speaking possible.
A filter covering the stoma must always be to support the breathing and lung health of a patient. And to ensure that no foreign bodies can get into the now open airway. So-called HME filters (heat and moisture exchangers) do not just seal the opening; they also filter, warm, and moisten the inhaled air.When using the shunt for voicing, the filter must be sealed – usually with a finger, until now.