Otolaryngological manifestations of acid reflux include a wide range of pharyngeal and laryngeal symptoms; and the constellation of symptoms has been called laryngopharyngeal reflux.
This is a prospective study in a cohort of patients with various throat symptoms suggestive of laryngopharyngeal reflux (LPR) who underwent flexible oesophago-gastroscopy, as a principal investigation. The aims were to look at the most reliable symptom(s) and sign(s), the diagnostic role of flexible oesophago-gastroscopy and the treatment response in these patients.
The endoscopy score of 0 to 3 was based on endoscopic findings and the treatment response was measured from 0 to 100 per cent improvement of symptoms, as described by the patients.
There were a total of 303 patients, 174 females and 129 males with ages ranging from 19 to 88 years. Seventy-five per cent had had symptoms for more than a year. Fifteen per cent were smokers. Globus, voice change, sore throat, dysphagia and cough were the predominant symptoms. Most patients, however, presented with a complex of various other secondary symptoms.
The endoscopic findings were abnormal in 98 per cent of patients. Apart from the finding of non-specific hyperaemia, usually of the posterior larynx (13 per cent), lesions of the larynx and vocal folds were surprisingly uncommon.
Proton pump inhibitors (PPI) were prescribed in 90 per cent of patients. A total of 233 (76.8 per cent) responded to treatment. The improvement of symptoms ranged from 25 per cent in 36 (23 per cent), 50 per cent in 60 (20 per cent), 75 per cent in 59 (19 per cent) and 100 per centin 78 (26 per cent) patients.
Accumulative analysis of variance showed a significant difference between treatment responders and non-responders (p <0.04). In a logistic regression model patients with globus, voice change and gastric prolapse were more likely to respond to treatment (p <0.04).
It can be concluded that voice change, sore throat, globus and cough choking are the most reliable symptoms of laryngopharyngeal reflux. Voice change and globus symptoms can be of predictive value in terms of successful treatment response. Flexible oesophago-gastroscopy (FOG) isa simple, safe and reliable way of assessment in these cases and treatment with PPI can be effective in the majority of patients.