Many gastroenterologists suspiciously view a diagnosis of laryngopharyngeal reflux (LPR) as assessed by an Ear, Nose, and Throat (ENT or otorhinolaryngologist) physician. This is due to a high degree of variability of these visible findings in a number of studies. A recent pediatric study reaches the same conclusion (J Pediatr 2014; 165: 479-84).
In this study, the authors recruited 52 infants in an effort to establish a reflux finding score for infants (RFS-I). This infant scale was modified based on a previous RFS developed in adults (Laryngoscope 2001; 111: 1313-7). In these infants, scored videos were evaluated by 3 pediatric ENTs, 2 adult ENTs, and 2 gastroenterology fellows.
- “laryngeal erythema/edema showed the lowest observer agreement…it is often speculated that laryngeal edema is caused by LPR, but no convincing evidence is available to support this theory.”
Bottomline: “Only moderate interobserver agreement [of the RFS-I] was reached with a highly variable intraobserver agreement…the RFS-I and flexible laryngoscopy should not be used solely to clinically assess LPR related findings of the larynx, nor to guide treatment.”
Related blog post:
- Treating reflux does not help asthma | gutsandgrowth -has annotated references regarding pulmonary and ENT complications ascribed to reflux.