Clinicians

Frequently Asked Questions

Clinician 1: How is the Shikani Speaking Valve™ different from other valves?

The Shikani Speaking Valve™ (SSV) is a true innovation in the field of speaking valves. It is a dynamic valve based on a ball design rather than the traditional flapper membrane design. With this valve, the patient has complete control over how airflow is directed within the upper airway. Depending on how the patient turns the notch, the valve has two modes of use – “valve up,” i.e. “biased open,” or “valve down,” i.e. “biased closed” – each with its own unique benefits. See for yourself:

The unique design of the Shikani Speaking Valve™ caters to patients depending on their unique circumstances. The design translates to numerous clinical benefits for your patients.

Example candidates for the “biased open” position:
Patients with unique anatomy (e.g. stenosis, partial airway obstruction) that cannot tolerate every breath going through the upper airway, patients with severely compromised respiratory function, and patients that are anxious about using a speaking valve are good candidates for the biased open position. This position is also excellent for pediatric patients, because it allows for easier introduction to the valve.

Example candidates for the “biased closed” position:
Patients who can tolerate every breath going through the upper airway, patients who are weaning from their tracheostomy tube, patients who are receiving nutrition by mouth, and patients who wish to speak for extended periods of time are good candidates for the biased closed position.

Clinician 2: What are the benefits of the Shikani Speaking Valve™?

As compared to existing flapper membrane valves, the Shikani Speaking Valve™ offers patients many advantages and benefits that can improve their overall quality of life. In addition to restoring speech, studies have shown that users of the Shikani Speaking Valve™ can benefit from:

  • Significantly lower airflow resistance, resulting in increased comfort, tolerance, and ease of breathing. Many patients who cannot use or have trouble using other traditional speaking valves can quickly adapt to and tolerate the SSV.
  • Superior voice quality and speech naturalness.
  • Superior olfaction.
  • More effective cough.
  • Improved swallowing.
  • The valve’s discreet, low-profile design (smaller than flapper valves).
  • The valve’s ability to be used in unison with a heat moisture exchanger (HME), allowing effective speech and humidification, warming, and filtration of air at the same time.

Clinician 3: How often does the valve need to be replaced?

As with other speaking valves, the Shikani Speaking Valve™ should be replaced every 2-3 months.

Clinician 4: What are the benefits of the Shikani HME™?

HMEs are extremely important for restoring pulmonary health in tracheotomy patients. The Shikani HME™ functions as an artificial nose and efficiently filters airborne environmental particles (dust, bacteria, viruses, pollutants, etc.) from inhaled air; it retains moisture and heat from air that is exhaled out of the lungs and into the HME; and upon re-inhalation, it filters, humidifies, and warms air returned to the lungs. The end result for your patient is:

  • More normalized and uniform temperature levels from inhaled air.
  • More normalized and uniform humidity levels from inhaled air.
  • Substantially increased particle filtration from inhaled air.
  • Reduced mucus secretion and thickening.
  • Reduced risk of pulmonary infection, a costly procedure to both patients and hospitals.
  • Restored pulmonary conditions and health.

Clinician 5: How do the Shikani Speaking Valve™ and Shikani HME™ work together?

When coupled with the Shikani Speaking Valve™, the Shikani HME™ allows effective speech and simultaneous humidification, warming, and filtration of air. Patients can therefore realize the benefits of both devices by using them together. That said, the Shikani HME™ can also be used independently by placing it directly onto any standard 15mm tracheostomy tube cannula.

Positioning the two devices so that they can work together is fairly simple. If you have a cuffed tracheostomy tube, make sure to deflate the cuff completely. Then, place the Shikani Speaking Valve™ with the notch up in the 12:00 o’clock position (“biased open”). Place the Shikani HME™ on top of the valve.

The combination of these two devices can greatly enhance the pulmonary health of your tracheotomy patients.

Clinician 6: How often does the HME need to be replaced?

As with other HMEs, the Shikani HME™ should be replaced after 24 hours of use.

Instructional Videos

Instructional presentation for clinicians detailing the advantages of the Shikani Speaking Valve™.
Instructional presentation for clinicians detailing the advantages of the Shikani HME™.
Long-form instructional video for clinicians detailing the advantages of the Shikani Speaking Valve™.
Long-form instructional video for clinicians detailing the advantages of the Shikani HME™.

Get more detail on the Shikani Speaking Valve™ and the Shikani HME™.