Apollo Chairman Prathap Reddy on Friday said that while Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa continues to use the tracheostomy tube, she was well and speaks for a few minutes using "speakers".
"She breathes on her own 90% of the time and speaks for a few minutes using speakers," he told reporters at the OMR hospital.
The speaking valves Reddy is referring to are needed to speak in such a situation because the tube blocks the air from passing through your vocal cords. Unless the vocal cords vibrate, one is unable to produce sound.
The speaking valve allows the air to exit through the mouth and nose, instead of the tube itself, enabling sound. However, the sounds may not be equivalent to the human voice.
"She is also undergoing static as well as active physiotherapy. The next step is to get up and walk. She will decide when she will go," Reddy added.
It has been more than two months since Jayalalithaa was admitted to Apollo. In an earlier update about her health, Reddy had said that she was on the ventilator for 15 minutes only and all her mental functions were fine.
Jayalalithaa was admitted to the Apollo hospital in Greams Road on September 22. Though initially the hospital had said that she was suffering from fever and dehydration, soon experts were flown in from London, Singapore and AIIMS. A team of doctors from Apollo including cardiologists, nephrologists, gastroenterologists and dieticians too have been helping Jayalalithaa.
Last week, she was shifted from Critical Care Unit to a private room (a high dependency Intensive Care Room).