Our understanding of the relationship between gastro-oesophageal reflux and respiratory disease has recently undergone important changes. The previous paradigm of airway reflux as synonymous with the classic gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD) causing heartburn has been overturned. Numerous epidemiological studies have shown a highly significant association of the acid, liquid, and gaseous reflux of GORD with conditions such as laryngeal diseases, chronic rhinosinusitis, treatment resistant asthma, COPD and even idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. However, it has become clear from studies on cough hypersensitivity syndrome that much reflux of importance in the airways has been missed, since it is either non- or weakly acid and gaseous in composition. The evidence for such a relationship relies on the clinical history pointing to symptom associations with known precipitants of reflux. The tools for the diagnosis of extra-oesophageal reflux, in contrast to the oesophageal reflux of GORD, lack sensitivity and reproducibility. Unfortunately, methodology for detecting such reflux is only just becoming available and much additional work is required to properly delineate its role.
Copyright © 2011 SEPAR. Published by Elsevier Espana. All rights reserved.