Saliva management options for difficult-to-wean people with tracheostomy following severe acquired brain injury (ABI): A review of the literature Academic Article uri icon


  • Primary objective

    To evaluate the evidence on saliva management options in those people who have a tracheostomy in situ following an acquired brain injury and to ascertain whether any of these treatments may facilitate tracheostomy decannulation.


    The search was conducted on Medline, Embase, Cinahl and Central databases since 1990 and the evidence has been critiqued and summarized. Saliva management options were identified and analysed to see whether they had evidence or clinical support for the population.

    Main outcomes and results

    There is a paucity of evidence in this area and clinical decision-making requires evidence from other populations. Saliva management issues in this population are most likely to be related to dysphagia. Treatment options include behavioural/compensatory therapies which should be tried in all cases, with adjunct pharmaceutical therapies or surgical options to reduce saliva volume as clinically appropriate. CONCLUSION AND FUTURE DIRECTIONS: This group of people is complex and requires a multi-disciplinary team to guide decision-making. High quality control studies looking at the effectiveness of dysphagia therapy and guidelines regarding botulinum toxin injections are recommended.


  • Checklin, Martin
  • Etty-Leal, Mary
  • Iseli, Tim A
  • Potter, Nicholas
  • Fisher, Sally
  • Chapman, Lauren

publication date

  • 2015