Esophagopharyngeal distribution of refluxed gastric acid in patients with reflux laryngitis

Gastroenterology. 1995 Nov;109(5):1575-82. doi: 10.1016/0016-5085(95)90646-0.


Background & aims: A variety of otolaryngological abnormalities have been attributed to the contact of gastroesophageal refluxate with respective structures of the aerodigestive tract. The aim of this study was to determine and compare the pharyngoesophageal distribution of gastric acid refluxate between patients with proven laryngitis attributed clinically to gastroesophageal reflux and three control groups.

Methods: An ambulatory 24-hour simultaneous three-site pharyngoesophageal pH monitoring technique was used to measure reflux parameters in the pharynx, proximal esophagus, and distal esophagus.

Results: Between-group comparison showed no significant difference in the reflux parameters in the distal esophagus between the studied groups. A significantly higher percentage of distal reflux episodes reached the proximal esophagus in the laryngitis group than in the control groups (P < 0.01), and the number of pharyngeal reflux episodes and time of acid exposure were significantly higher in the laryngitis group than in the control groups (P < 0.001).

Conclusions: Compared with normal controls and patients with gastroesophageal reflux disease, pharyngeal reflux of gastric acid is significantly more prevalent and the ratio of proximal to distal esophageal acid reflux episodes is significantly increased in patients with posterior laryngitis. Simultaneous three-site ambulatory pharyngoesophageal pH monitoring may provide supporting evidence when the diagnosis of reflux-induced aerodigestive tract lesions is considered.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Esophagus / metabolism*
  • Gastric Acid / metabolism*
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux / complications
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Laryngitis / etiology
  • Laryngitis / metabolism*
  • Middle Aged
  • Monitoring, Physiologic
  • Pharynx / metabolism*