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Laryngoscope. 2002 Aug;112(8 Pt 1):1399-406.

Perspectives in laryngopharyngeal reflux: an international survey.

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  • 1Department of Otolaryngology and Communication Sciences, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53226, USA.



Although data exists to support the relationship between laryngopharyngeal reflux (LPR) and laryngitis, there is variability among otolaryngologists regarding the methods and criteria used to make the diagnosis. This study was undertaken to discern the current attitudes and practices of a select cohort of otolaryngologists in regards to LPR.


Four hundred fifteen surveys were mailed to members of the American Broncho-Esophagological Association. Survey recipients were asked to rate patient symptomatology and physical examination findings in terms of their relationship to LPR and their preferred laryngeal visualization procedure in terms of clinical use and diagnostic accuracy. The role and validity of adjunctive diagnostic tests were also surveyed.


Survey response rate was 38%. Symptoms felt to be most related to reflux were: throat clearing (98.3%), persistent cough (96.6%), heartburn/dyspepsia (95.7%), globus sensation (94.9%), and voice quality change (94.9%). The physical examination findings felt to be most related to reflux included: arytenoid erythema (97.5%), vocal cord erythema (95.7%) and edema (95.7%), posterior commissure hypertrophy (94.9%), and arytenoid edema (94.0%). Fiberoptic laryngoscopy was the most commonly performed diagnostic visualization procedure (75.7%) and was also considered to be most sensitive and specific (45.0%). The most commonly ordered adjunctive test was a double pH probe (37.2%), which was also felt to be the most sensitive and specific adjunctive test (75.9%).


A polling of a select group of otolaryngologists demonstrated agreement in the criteria used to diagnose reflux laryngitis, although some variability exists. The development of objective guidelines for the diagnosis of LPR is a critical initial step toward evaluating the manifestations and therapeutic interventions for this disease process.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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