Journal of Pulmonary Medicine

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The influence of long-term tracheostomy on speech and language development in children – Case report

The first 3 years of life, when the brain is developing and maturing, is the most intensive period for acquiring speech and language skills. These skills develop best in a world that is rich with sounds, sights, and consistent exposure to the speech and language of others.Thus, some suggested that tracheostomy at that age may have influence on speech development, since it can cause delay or language disability. This report introduces a case that is monitored at our outpatient clinic. A twelve year old male, was born with esophageal atresia, underwent surgery to correct atresia when he was two days old, had prolonged intubation, and underwent tracheostomy when he was one month old, due to bilateral vocal fold paralysis. He grow up with a tracheostomy, and that affected unduly his speech development. At his age he still exchanges phonemes and has a childish speech, with dysarthria and difficulty communicating with other people. This case corroborates with the literature, which shows a relevant relation between long-term tracheostomy and speech delay. Thereby, we should aim decannulation as early as possible, so that tracheostomy has less influence on speech development in these children.

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