Extraesophageal manifestations of gastroesophageal reflux disease: real or imagined?

Research paper by John M JM Moore, Michael F MF Vaezi

Indexed on: 18 May '10Published on: 18 May '10Published in: Current opinion in gastroenterology


Extraesophageal reflux disease is a common clinical presentation to gastroenterology as well as ear, nose and throat, allergy, and asthma clinics. The diagnosis and management of this condition is challenging. We review the current dilemma in this area and discuss the latest studies which help guide our therapies for patients with suspected extraesophageal reflux.Diagnostic approach to patients with extraesophageal reflux disease involved the use of insensitive tools, which have hampered the ability to correctly identify patients at risk. Empiric trial using proton pump inhibitors is still the recommended initial approach to those suspected of having reflux as the cause for extraesophageal symptoms such as asthma, chronic cough, or laryngitis. Diagnostic testing should be reserved to those unresponsive to therapy. Most recent studies suggest that ambulatory impedance/pH monitoring performed on therapy may be most likely to help exclude reflux as the cause for persistent symptoms. Recent randomized placebo-controlled studies on chronic laryngitis, cough, and asthma have been disappointing in showing benefit of acid suppressive therapy.Gastroduodenal reflux may cause symptoms such as chronic cough, asthma, or laryngitis. However, we are currently limited in our diagnostic ability to identify the subgroup of patients who might respond to acid suppressive therapy. Impedance/pH monitoring may be a step in the right direction; however, outcome studies are needed to better understand the role of acid or nonacid reflux in patients with extraesophageal symptoms.