An Assistive Coughing Device for Post-Laryngectomy Patients

Keren Yue*, Henry Lancashire, Kylie de Jager, James Graveston, Martin Birchall, Anne Vanhoestenberghe, Andrew T Conn, Jonathan M Rossiter

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

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People who have undergone total laryngectomy typically have difficulties speaking and coughing. Coughing, the protective reflex action where air is rapidly expelled from the lungs to clear the airway, is crucial in everyday life. Insufficiency in coughing can lead to serious chest infections. In this research we present a bionic assistive coughing device (RoboCough) to improve coughing efficacy among laryngectomy patients by increasing pressure and flow rate. RoboCough was designed to mimic the function of the glottis and trachea in the upper respiratory system. Experimental results show a significant increase (t(64) = 4.9, p < 0.0001) in peak cough flow rate and peak cough pressure (t(64) = 12.6, p < 0.0001) among 33 control participants using RoboCough. A pilot study with a smaller cohort of laryngectomy patients shows improvement in peak cough pressure (p = 0.0159) using RoboCough. Preliminary results also show that post-laryngectomy coughs achieved similar peak cough flow (Z = -0.9933, p = 0.32) to the control group’s natural cough. Coughing capabilities could be improved through using RoboCough. Applications of RoboCough include simulation of vocal folds and respiratory conditions, rehabilitation of ineffective coughs from laryngeal and respiratory diseases and as a test-bed for the development of medical devices for respiratory support.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages9
JournalIEEE Transactions on Medical Robotics and Bionics
Issue number3
Early online date28 Jul 2021
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2021


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