Objective: Esophageal motility problems have been demonstrated in patients with noninflammatory typical gastroesophageal reflux (GER) and esophagitis, but the frequency of motility disorders in patients with extraesophageal manifestations of GER has not been studied. The primary aim of this study was to assess the frequency of esophageal motility disorders in patients with atypical GER.
Methods: A prospective study of 112 consecutive patients with laryngopharyngeal reflux (LPR) symptoms and demonstrated physical findings consistent with LPR were studied. Patients were divided into one of the following diagnostic categories: hoarseness; chronic cough; dysphagia or globus pharyngeus; and paroxysmal laryngospasm. Of the 112 patients, 81 (72%) underwent esophageal manometry and ambulatory 24-hour pH monitoring (pH-metry), 19 (17%) had motility studies only, and 12 (11%) had pH-metry studies only. Only patients who had motility studies were included in the analysis. Therefore the study population was 100 patients. Associations between diagnostic category, motility disorder, and abnormal reflux were evaluated with contingency-table analyses.
Results: Of the 100 patients, 29 (29%) presented normal motility function, 48 (48%) had ineffective esophageal motility, 10 (10%) had hypertensive lower esophageal sphincter (LES), and 9 (9%) and 4 (4%) had nutcracker esophagus and achalasia, respectively. There was a significant association between esophageal dysmotility and extraesophageal manifestations of GER However, there was no statistically significant association between esophageal motility disorders and abnormal acid reflux in our patients with atypical GER.
Conclusions: In the present study, the frequency of esophageal motility problems in patients with extraesophageal or atypical manifestations of GER was 73% and suggested that these problems exist as an accompanying condition or pathogenic co-factor in some patients with atypical GER.