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  #1  
Old 02-20-2012, 10:47 AM
Panakas Panakas is offline
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Post Hands-Free Tracheostomy Valves

Hi everyone!
My name is Panos and I'm an undergraduate student in the University of Hull(UK). My final years project is on tracheostomy valves. Basically I want to make a hands-free valve that shuts automatically without the need of a person to close the opening manually with his/her fingers. I've made a small survey and I would really appreciate it if you could spend a few minutes to have a look and give me your thoughts ideas etc!
You can do this online on this link: http://apps.facebook.com/my-polls/j4u7gq5v OR by downloading the survey below!
THANK YOU!!!
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File Type: zip Tracheostomy Survey.zip (7.6 KB, 3 views)

Last edited by Panakas : 02-20-2012 at 11:19 AM.
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  #2  
Old 02-21-2012, 09:10 AM
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jennymclelland jennymclelland is offline
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Default Shikani

Have you taken a look at the Shikani valve? It does the same general thing.
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Mom to Josie (born 12/18/09) (the healthy one) James (born 04/12/11). James has brachytelephalangic chondrodysplasia punctata (dwarfism with short stubby fingers and severe mid face hypoplasia, hence very small nasal passages, hence the trach), G-tube, cervical spine instability at C1/C2 pending skull to C7 spinal fusion.

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Old 02-21-2012, 10:24 AM
Panakas Panakas is offline
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Yes I have!
There are currently 5 valves:
1)The Shikani valve
2)The Adeva window
3)The Passy-Muir valve
4)The Blom-Singer
5)The Tracoe Phon Assist II

I just want to get opinions on these to fix them or make them better??
THANK YOU!!
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Old 02-24-2012, 02:19 PM
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bigalexe bigalexe is offline
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1. What is the problem you are trying to solve?
2. Is there a market for this?

I really don't get if you are trying to make a PMV style check valve (breathe in but not out) or if you are looking to make a valve that leaves the trach open but closes it for speaking.

I can tell you that most patients who aren't already using the PMV style valves which are very sufficient for their purpose wouldn't be a good candidate for a full stoppage. Full stoppage of flow results in a partially blocked trachea and stacking that on top of expending energy to talk (which is way more than you can imagine) would wear out most people so much they wouldn't use the valve.

If you have a skype or IM hit me with an email at [REDACTED]. I have had a trach for 4.5 years now and gone from full ventilation to looking at decannulation. I'm a student in a Bachelors program for Mechanical Engineering Technology (4 year university degree) so I've considered the engineering solutions to my trach quite a bit. In fact I have some CAD models you might want to see in regards to related projects. I'd give you my phone but I'm in the USA so calling international would be kind of Blah.
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Last edited by bigalexe : 03-31-2012 at 12:59 AM.
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Old 02-24-2012, 04:25 PM
Panakas Panakas is offline
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Hi bigalexe!
Thanks for your message!
Basically, I want to see what people think about existing hands-free Tracheostomy Valves(not speech valves).
In the UK people prefer and use valves that the person using them has to close the opening of the valve(trachea) to be able to talk. They don't like valves like the Shikani or similar that are hand-free. I need to see what other people think and try to make something better that is actually hands-free(lets people talk without the need for them to close the valve manually-using their fingers).
Hope this is clear now! Any info about these in the USA would be very appreciated!
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  #6  
Old 02-24-2012, 10:21 PM
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bigalexe bigalexe is offline
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As far as tracheostomy patients go I would say you can probably break them into 3 categories:

1.) Chronic pulmonary dysfunction and or weakness
2.) Chronically obstructed upper airway
3.) Intermittent pulmonary dysfunction and or weakness
4.) Patients working on decannulation formerly belonging to group 1 or 3

In category 1 I am talking about everyone who just needs the extra lower hole to those that are vented 24/7. The #2 group is referring to a small group (I'm not sure how prevalent they are) who might have the strength to breathe through the upper airway but have a physical obstruction or blockage which necessitates the extra hole. The third group are people who might be ventilated intermittently or require oxygen assistance or maybe require a hole to assist in clearing mucus. Then 4 is self-explanatory.

There are 3 major types of "Plugs" available on the market in the US.
1.) Full Plugs
2.) Speaking Valves
3.) HME's

The first type of plug is used primarily for those patients that have the strength to have the trach completely blocked during the day. These people are usually in group 4. Full plugs require the MOST pulmonary strength and ability of all the valves. The reason someone would use a full plug is that they are seeing how they do without the trach.

The Speaking valve allows inhalation through the trach but not exhalation in order to enable speaking. These are popular with groups 3,4 and sometimes 1. The speaking valve doesn't require as much strength as the full cap because you still get to inhale at trach level. It allows the user to speak but still get some trach assistance. These are used sometimes intermittently by group 1 and anyone from intermittently to near 24/7 by group 3. I also mentioned group 4 because if you are going from full vent dependence to trach free then Speaking valve is the first step. A hydraulics or pneumatics guy would call these check valves.

The speaking valve also comes in a few varieties that allow for some extra "Leakage" which make them easier on the user but decrease the speaking assistance accordingly. This is NOT a fixable problem and I'd need to start drawing stuff to explain why.

The HME is a humidity vent. It does NOT obstruct the trach at all. It does not allow the user to speak as the PMV does.

What you are attempting to develop it seems is a full cap type valve which closes intermittently without input from the user. There does not seem to be any applicable usage for your device which is not already covered by other devices. You could use electronics to do it but at that point price starts skyrocketing for what is a disposable device.

Like I said just shoot me an email with info for AIM or Skype and I'll find some time to talk to you over the weekend. I'd much prefer skype because I can physically show you my trach and the caps I have and how they work.
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