Role of refluxed acid in pathogenesis of laryngeal disorders

Am J Med. 1997 Nov 24;103(5A):100S-106S. doi: 10.1016/s0002-9343(97)00333-1.


The neuroanatomic proximity of the larynx to the hypopharynx and proximal esophagus make it particularly vulnerable to diseases that occur in those 2 areas. This is particularly true of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). There is increasing awareness of this relationship, and dysphonias from gastroesophageal reflux (GER) are far more common than previously realized. The symptoms and findings of reflux laryngitis, vocal nodules, Reinke's edema, contact ulcer and granuloma, laryngeal stenosis, and paroxysmal laryngospasm are presented, and diagnostic protocols for each disorder are suggested. The treatment varies with the severity of each problem. Conservative lifestyles and dietary control are helpful, but long-term medical therapy with H2, H1, and prokinetic drugs are usually needed. Surgical therapy may be indicated for such life-threatening problems as laryngeal stenosis and paroxysmal laryngospasm. The need for physician and patient awareness, research, and improved and less expensive therapy are discussed.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Gastric Acid / physiology*
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux / complications*
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux / physiopathology
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux / therapy
  • Humans
  • Laryngeal Diseases / etiology
  • Laryngeal Diseases / physiopathology*
  • Laryngoscopy