Examination of the safety and temperature characteristics of the Alimed Ice Finger



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Texas Tech University


Thermal stimulation is a common clinical technique used in the treatment of dysphagia. Historically, a cold laryngeal mirror, or other type of cold probe, was used to stroke one or both of the anterior faucial pillars several times prior to the swallow. Recently, a new device, the AliMed® Ice Finger™, was introduced for thermal stimulation, which offered the swallowing therapist a better-constructed device that allowed for more flexibility during thermal stimulation.

The purpose of this bench study was to report safety and temperature data regarding the AliMed® Ice Finger™, as this type of data does not yet exist. This type of research was important as it may aid swallowing therapists, commonly speech-language pathologists, in making judgments regarding the safety of their patients when using the Ice FingerTM. This data was also important because it would aid in determining which thermal stimulation device holds cold temperature across a significant period of time. Four major experiments were carried out to determine the safety and temperature characteristics of the AliMed® Ice Finger™. Durability was measured across varying temperature conditions, sites of force application, and cleaning methodologies. Cold temperature retention was measured across varying storage methodologies. The sterilization properties of the Ice Finger™ were also determined by culturing various Ice Fingers™ from three different cleaning methods.

Out of 260 Ice Fingers™ tested for durability, 3 ruptured (i.e., one included in the solid frozen group at Pi and two included in the repeated use group cleaned with mild detergent). Ice Fingers™ stored in a cup of ice retained the coldest temperatures for a longer period of time, but Ice Fingers™ in all three temperature storage conditions stayed below body temperature and in the range of oral cold receptor stimulation. None of the fifteen cultured Ice Fingers™ from the three different cleaning methodologies demonstrated any growth, even after 48 hours.

The results of this study indicated that the Ice Finger™ was a safe and durable device for use in the management of dysphagia patients. The results also indicated that the Ice Finger™ retained cold temperatures sufficient for stimulating cold receptors during thermal stimulation.



Deglutition disorders -- Treatment, Cold -- Therapeutic use