Changes in the Reflux Symptom Index After Multilevel Surgery for Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Clin Exp Otorhinolaryngol. 2017 Sep;10(3):259-264. doi: 10.21053/ceo.2017.00052. Epub 2017 Apr 28.


Objectives: This study evaluated whether the symptoms of laryngopharyngeal reflux (LPR) change after multilevel surgery for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).

Methods: Patients who underwent multilevel surgery for OSA between April 2009 and September 2014 were enrolled in this study. All patients underwent preoperative polysomnography prior to surgery and were asked to complete the reflux symptom index (RSI) questionnaire before and after surgery.

Results: Of 73 enrolled patients, 24 (33%) reported an RSI score >13 and were thus classified as having reflux. The mean RSI score before surgery was 11.48±7.95; this number decreased to 4.95±6.19 after surgery (P<0.001). The rate of positive RSI responses was 33% before surgery and 9% after surgery. Each variable that comprised the RSI improved significantly after surgery, except for difficulty with swallowing. Regarding the degree of RSI improvement after surgery, there were no significant differences between subgroups according to sex, age, body mass index, OSA severity, or surgical outcome.

Conclusion: LPR symptoms are prevalent in OSA patients. Treatment for OSA using multilevel surgery potentially reduces the symptoms of LPR.

Keywords: Laryngopharyngeal Reflux; Obstructive Sleep Apnea.