Relationship between extralaryngeal endoscopic findings, proton pump inhibitor (PPI) response, and pH measures in suspected laryngopharyngeal reflux

N. Agrawal, R. Yadlapati, N. Shabeeb, C. P.E. Price, A. Lidder, S. Shintani-Smith, M. Bové, J. Pandolfino, B. Tan*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


SUMMARY. Laryngopharyngeal reflux (LPR) is a clinical entity diagnosed by history laryngoscopic findings that has a variable response to empiric proton-pump inhibitor (PPI) therapy. While the reflux finding score (RFS), an endoscopic scoring scheme, has been advanced as a measure of LPR, it has not been externally validated against symptom severity in practice. Extralaryngeal pharyngeal endoscopic findings may have diagnostic utility but remain underexplored. This study assesses the correlation between extralaryngeal findings and (1) 24-hour oropharyngeal pH & (2) PPI response in patients with suspected LPR. Subjects presented to a tertiary care center with laryngeal symptoms ≥1 month and reflux symptom index (RSI) ≥13. Following baseline questionnaires, laryngoscopy, and a 24-hour oropharyngeal pH probe study, subjects were prescribed 8–12 week omeprazole trials. Baseline endoscopic findings were scored in a blinded fashion using the RFS and extralaryngeal score criteria, summatively the ‘ELS.’ PPI response was defined as ≥50% improvement in RSI. Thirty-three subjects with flexible endoscopic recordings completed baseline and follow-up questionnaires. The cohort’s baseline mean RSI was 23.0 ± 7.2 with a RSI = 9.8 after PPI therapy. The baseline RFS score averaged 5.3 ± 2.7. 45% of our subjects was found to be PPI responsive. The Cohen’s kappa for the ELS but not the RFS was significant. There were no significant differences between the RFS (P = 0.10) or ELS (P = 0.07) for PPI responders & nonresponders. Oropharyngeal pH measures did not correlate with the RFS or ELS. In conclusion, endoscopic scores of laryngeal and extralaryngeal findings did not predict PPI response or oropharyngeal acid exposure in suspected LPR.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalDiseases of the Esophagus
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2019


  • Laryngopharyngeal reflux
  • Oropharyngeal pH
  • Proton pump inhibitor therapy
  • Reflux finding score
  • Reflux symptom index

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology


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