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Clinical significance of laryngopharyngeal reflux in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

Authors Jung YH, Lee DY, Kim DW, Park SS, Heo EY, Chung HS, Kim DK

Received 10 March 2015

Accepted for publication 22 April 2015

Published 15 July 2015 Volume 2015:10(1) Pages 1343—1351

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/COPD.S84337

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Richard Russell


Young Ho Jung,1* Doh Young Lee,2* Dong Wook Kim,1 Sung Soo Park,3 Eun Young Heo,3 Hee Soon Chung,3 Deog Kyeom Kim3

1Department of Otorhinolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, Seoul Metropolitan Government-Seoul National University Boramae Medical Center, Seoul National University College of Medicine, 2Department of Otorhinolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, Anam Hospital, Korea University Medical Center, 3Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine, Seoul Metropolitan Government-Seoul National University Boramae Medical Center, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul, Republic of Korea

*These authors contributed equally to this work

Background: Although chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is closely associated with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), the clinical significance of laryngopharyngeal reflux (LPR) is not fully understood in COPD.
Methods: Prospective cohorts were established among 118 patients with COPD from March 2013 to July 2014. Thirty-two age-matched and sex-matched normal controls, who had routine health check-ups during the study period, were included. Laryngopharyngeal reflux finding scores (RFS) and reflux symptom index (RSI) for LPR were subjected to association analysis with severity and acute exacerbation of COPD during the 1-year follow-up.
Results: The mean age of patients enrolled in the study was 69.2±8.8 years, with 93.2% being male. Positive RFS (>7) and RSI (>13) were observed in 51 (42.5%) and six patients (5.0%), respectively. RFS and RSI were significantly higher in patients with COPD than in normal, healthy patients (P<0.001). RFS was significantly correlated with residual volume/total lung capacity (%, P=0.048). Scores for diffuse laryngeal edema, erythema, and hyperemia were significantly higher in the high-risk group (Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease classification C and D; P=0.025 and P=0.049, respectively), while RSI was significantly higher in the more symptomatic group (Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease classification B and D; P=0.047). RSI and RFS were significant predictors for severe acute exacerbation of COPD (P=0.03 and P=0.047, respectively), while only RSI was associated with severity of dyspnea.
Conclusion: Laryngeal examination and evaluation of laryngeal reflux symptom could be a surrogate clinical indicator related to severe acute exacerbation of COPD. Further studies of LPR in COPD patients should be considered.

Keywords: COPD, acute exacerbation, laryngopharyngeal reflux, reflux symptom index, reflux finding score


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