Send to

Choose Destination
Respir Care. 2020 Feb;65(2):144-149. doi: 10.4187/respcare.06768. Epub 2019 Oct 15.

The Effect of Speaking Valves on ICU Mobility of Individuals With Tracheostomy.

Author information

ICU of Moinhos de Vento Hospital, Porto Alegre, Brazil.
ICU of Moinhos de Vento Hospital, Porto Alegre, Brazil.
ICU of Clínicas Hospital, Porto Alegre, Brazil.



Early mobilization is part of the rehabilitation process for critically ill patients and is currently considered a means of preventing ICU-acquired muscle deterioration and worsening of physical function. We sought to determine whether the use of speaking valves in tracheostomized patients would improve their mobility. We evaluated the changes in mobility performance with the use of speaking valves in tracheostomized subjects.


We performed a cohort study of a series of subjects who were tracheostomized and were being weaned from mechanical ventilation between April 2016 and May 2018. The subjects were those able to tolerate a speaking valve for a minimum of 30 min. Demographic data, comorbidities, cause of ICU admission, days in the ICU, duration of mechanical ventilation before tracheostomy, and days free from mechanical ventilation before tracheostomy were collected. Mobility status was evaluated using daily measurements of the Perme Intensive Care Unit Mobility Score.


During the study period, 63 patients were tracheostomized. Patients with deficiencies in language (n = 2) or cognitive deficits (n = 36) and patients in exclusive palliative care (n = 7) were excluded. Eighteen subjects were enrolled in the study. The mean age of the subjects was 64.6 ± 14.2 y (55.5% were male), and the most common reason for ICU admission was pneumonia (n = 7; 38.8%). Perme scores increased from 11.3 (interquartile range 10.1-12.0) on the day before initiation of the speaking valve to 18.2 (IQR 16.2-20.1) immediately after the initiation of a speaking valve (P < .01). These changes were maintained during all periods of speaking valve use.


The use of speaking valves in tracheostomized subjects improved mobility.


early mobilization; mechanical ventilation; speaking valves; tracheostomy


Conflict of interest statement

The authors have disclosed no conflicts of interest.

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for HighWire
Loading ...
Support Center