Impact of an Abdominal Binder on Speech Outcomes in People With Tetraplegic Spinal Cord Injury: Perceptual and Acoustic Measures
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Background: An abdominal binder (AB) is routinely used for patients who have suffered a spinal cord injury (SCI) resulting in tetraplegia. It is thought to restore abdominal pressure and consequently improve breathing capacity and reduce postural hypotension in patients who do not have functioning abdominal muscles. Objective: To examine the early effects of an AB on respiratory and speech outcomes. Methods: Thirteen individuals who sustained an acute motor complete SCI between C3 and T1 were assessed after a 6-week trial of using an elasticized AB from the time of first mobilizing in an upright wheelchair. Assessments were made using spirometry and perceptual and acoustics speech measures based on sustained phonation, sentence recitation, and passage reading. Results: Significant improvements were found in the AB-on condition for 3 of 5 respiratory parameters (vital capacity, forced vital capacity, and forced expiratory volume in 1 second). Predominantly mild voice and speech dysfunction were noted in participants. No significant difference was found for any of the acoustic and perceptual speech parameters (maximum phonation time, vocal intensity for sentence recitation, perceptual speech characteristics, or vocal quality) between the AB conditions. Conclusions: Despite the finding that an AB results in significant improvements in respiratory function for individuals with tetraplegic SCI, the current study did not provide evidence that an AB improves speech production.
Topics in Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation
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