Role of esophageal pH recording in management of chronic laryngitis: An overview

D. G. Hanson*, D. Conley, J. Jiang, P. Kahrilas

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Chronic laryngitis typically produces symptoms of frequent throat-clearing, soreness, decreased voice quality with use, nonproductive cough, globus sensation, and odynophagia. The endoscopic laryngeal examination usually demonstrates posterior glottic edema, erythema, and increased vascularity and nodularity. There is increasing support for the hypothesis that reflux of acidic gastric contents is often responsible for the symptoms and findings of chronic laryngitis. Prospective trials of acid suppression therapy demonstrate not only efficacy in symptom reduction, but also objective improvement in measurements of voice quality and mucosal erythema. Although traditionally considered the 'gold standard' for diagnosis of reflux causing laryngitis, routine esophageal pH recording may result in false negatives in up to 50% of patients. This may confound the diagnosis of chronic laryngitis and delay treatment. Conversely, a positive study during comprehensive therapy may help identify patients who need additional treatment. A single distal probe is probably insufficient for evaluation of a supraesophageal disorder. Current recommendations for double-probe pH study in the evaluation of chronic laryngitis fall into 2 categories: 1) a double-probe pH study is indicated if there is ongoing moderate-to-severe laryngitis despite antireflux precautions and proton pump inhibitor treatment for at least 6 to 12 weeks; and 2) a double-probe pH study is indicated as a baseline measurement before Nissen or Toupet fundoplication. The pH study would also be indicated in patients who have symptoms after fundoplication. There is clearly much more work to be done on the technical issues of obtaining accurate objective data related to laryngeal acidification. In addition, although acid reflux appears to be causative in many cases of chronic laryngitis, further work is indicated to identify reliable testing methods that will predict treatment success.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4-9
Number of pages6
JournalAnnals of Otology, Rhinology and Laryngology
Issue number10 II SUPPL.
StatePublished - 2000


  • Chronic laryngitis
  • Esophageal pH probe study
  • Gastroesophageal reflux

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology


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