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Laryngorhinootologie. 2001 Aug;80(8):464-9.

[Manifestations of gastroesophageal reflux in the otorhinolaryngology tract].

[Article in German]

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Klinik und Poliklinik für Hals-, Nasen- und Ohrenkranke, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München.



Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is associated with a wide spectrum of otolaryngologic disorders and extraesophageal complications of the upper aerodigestive tract. Previous studies of patients diagnosed with GERD have reported symptoms such as asthma, chronic cough, pneumonia, laryngitis, but also other oral, rhinopharyngeal and laryngeal disorders, e.g. sore throat, globus sensation, and hoarseness. The objective of this study was to determine the incidence of gastroenterologic diseases in patients complaining of upper aerodigestive, pulmonary, laryngeal, pharyngeal, oral, and cervical disorders that are possibly attributable to GERD.


This study included 40 patients, who presented to the department of Otolaryngology with chronic complaints of at least one of the following symptoms or disorders during a minimum period of 3 months: dysphagia (n = 28), sensation of globus pharyngeus (n = 28), hoarseness (n = 20), odynophagia (n = 22), heartburn (n = 16), postnasal drip (n = 15), sore throat (n = 22), cough (n = 14), throat clearing (n = 11), laryngospasm (n = 6), and voice fatigue (n = 6). A complete examination of the head and neck was performed. Inflammatory disorders of the nose and the paranasal sinuses could not be confirmed by history, nasal endoscopy and Water's view x-ray or CT-scan of the paranasal sinuses in all patients.


The main otorhinolaryngologic findings were laryngeal lesions (n = 38), including posterior laryngitis, erythema and edema of the interarytenoideal region, and chronic hyperplastic laryngitis. All patients were referred for gastroenterologic evaluation, where esophagogastroduodenoscopy was performed with histological examination of biopsy specimens. Different gastroenterologic diseases such as GERD, gastritis and hiatal hernia were confirmed in 30 of 40 cases, and appeared solely or in combination with each other. GERD was the most frequent gastroenterologic disease (48%), followed by hiatal hernia (45%) and Helicobacter pylori positive antrum gastritis (23%). Patients with GERD were treated with medical antireflux therapy, e.g. 20 mg to 40 mg of the proton pump inhibitor omeprazole daily. There was a remarkably good therapeutic outcome, since laryngeal disorders and findings as the result of gastroenterologic diseases resolved in 29 out of 30 patients. To date, these therapeutic results were maintained for the mean follow-up period of 8 months.


It is concluded that in many patients, suffering from the above-mentioned otolaryngologic symptoms, occult gastroesophageal diseases are present. However, laryngoscopic findings are subtle and meticulous examination is mandatory. Medical antireflux treatment is effective for relief of symptoms and mucosal healing. Thus, extraesophageal otolaryngologic symptoms and laryngeal manifestations are to be considered as extragastrointestinal manifestations mainly of reflux disease.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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