"My Voice"

Order a paperback or Kindle Edition or e-book of "My Voice: A Physician's Personal Experience with Throat Cancer," the complete 282 page story of Dr. Brook's diagnosis, treatment, and recovery from throat cancer.

Order a paperback or Kindle Edition or e-book of "The Laryngectomee Guide," the 170 page practical guide for laryngectomees.

Obtain and/or view a video presentation, instructive manual and a slide presentation how to ventilate laryngectomees and neck breathers (free).

To obtain suggestions for laryngectomees how to cope with COVID-19 pandemic click the Laryngectomee Newsletter link.

Thursday, January 5, 2023

Hyperventilation in neck breathers including laryngectomees.

 Hyperventilation can occur in neck breathers including laryngectomees. Hyperventilation reduces the level of carbon dioxide in the blood. It can upset the acid-base balance in the blood making it more alkaline. The syndrome is characterized by repeated episodes of excessive ventilation in response to fear, anxiety or panic. It can also occur during an orgasm or intense sexual activity, as well as heavy physical activity.

Neck breathers are more prone to this condition because rapid breathing ventilate the lungs quicker than in non-neck breathers as the inhaled air enter the trachea through the stoma, bypassing the upper airways.

The existence of hyperventilation in laryngectomees was evaluated by Brook by sending a questioner to 256 laryngectomees. Fifty-four of the 72 individuals who return the questioner experienced one or more episodes of hyperventilation. It was associated with heavy physical activity in 28 (51%) individuals, sexual activity in 15 (38%), anxiety in 8 (15%), and intense coughing in 7 (13%). The symptoms experienced were: fast or deep breathing in all cases, shortness of breath (50 or 96%); anxiety, fear, panic, or strong feeling of dread or doom (38 or 70%); dizziness (27 or 50%); generalized weakness (16 or 30%); sweating (13 or 34%); fainting (4 or 7%); and chest pain (4 or 7%).

This small survey illustrates that laryngectomees do experience hyperventilation syndrome.

Further studies are warranted to prospectively evaluate the incidence of hyperventilation in laryngectomees and other neck breathers. Such studies may highlight the need to address, prevent and treat this condition in laryngectomees.