Without a larynx
What are the implications for resuscitating and communicating with these patients? Hannah Blagnys and Paul Montgomery discuss
In 2003 more than 1700 people were diagnosed with cancer of the larynx in England.1 Many of these with advanced or recurrent disease will go on to have a laryngectomy (removal of the larynx). How is it possible to communicate without a voicebox? This article discusses the communication options available to someone who has had a laryngectomy (a laryngectomee) and the techniques needed for resuscitation.
The larynx is a specialised organ responsible for maintaining a patent airway and providing a protective sphincter at the top of the airway during swallowing to prevent aspiration of food and drink. It is also responsible for the generation of the sound that is shaped into intelligible speech by movement of the lips and tongue. The larynx lies in the anterior neck from C3 to C6 and connects the inferior part of the pharynx to the trachea. It is split anatomically into three parts, the