Research Article published, on JMIR, January 11, 2023
Link to article https://formative.jmir.org/2023/1/e36401
Authors: Anam Ahmed; Janne C Mewes; Iris W A Boot; Hubertus J M Vrijhoef.
Background: Notwithstanding the benefits of heat and moisture exchangers (HMEs) in both clinical research and practice, a gap exists between the optimal physiological humidification created through the nasal function and the humidification capacity of HMEs for patients after total laryngectomy. In this study, 5 new HMEs (Provox Life) specialized for situational use with improved humidification capacities were evaluated.
Objective:This study aims to evaluate the effectiveness of the existing HMEs, assess the potential effectiveness of the new HMEs, and elicit expert judgments on the new HMEs’ expected effectiveness and impact on health care use.
Methods:First, a rapid literature review (RLR) was performed to identify evidence on the clinical outcomes, health outcomes, and complications of HMEs in patients who underwent laryngectomy. Second, semistructured interviews with German experts (n=4) were conducted to validate the findings of the RLR and identify reasonable expectations regarding the potential of the new HMEs. Third, a structured expert elicitation among German experts (n=19) was used to generate quantitative evidence on the expected effectiveness of the new HMEs in clinical and health outcomes.
Results:The RLR (n=10) demonstrated that HME use by patients has advantages compared with no HME use concerning breathing resistance, tracheal dryness and irritation, mucus production and plugging, frequency of cough and forced expectorations, sleep quality, voice quality, use of physiotherapy, tracheobronchitis or pneumonia episodes, quality of life, and patient satisfaction. From the expert interviews and structured expert elicitation, it was found that, on average, experts expect that compared with the second-generation HMEs, the new HMEs will lead to a decrease in tracheal dryness or irritation (51%, SD 24%, of patients), mucus plug events (33%, SD 32%, of patients), mucus production (53%, SD 22%, of patients), physiotherapy (0.74, SD 0.70, days) and pulmonary infections (34%, SD 32%) and an increase or improvement in speech quality (25%, SD 23%, of patients), social contacts (13%, SD 18%), quality of life (33%, SD 30%), and patient satisfaction (44%, SD 30%). An improvement in breathing (53%, SD 28%, of patients) and shortness of breath (48%, SD 25%, of patients) was expected. The average number of daily cough periods and forced expectorations was expected to be 2.95 (SD 1.61) and 2.46 (SD 1.42), respectively. Experts expect that, on average, less than half of the patients will experience sleeping problems (48%, SD 22%) and psychosocial problems (24%, SD 20%).
Conclusions:According to German experts, it is expected that the new HMEs with improved humidification levels will lead to additional (clinical) effectiveness on pulmonary health and an improved overall quality of life of patients compared with the currently available HMEs.
JMIR Form Res 2023;7:e36401