Accuracy of ENT diagnosis of Reflux Changes

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.

Specific finding:

  • “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:

1 thought on “Accuracy of ENT diagnosis of Reflux Changes

  1. Pingback: Better to Do a Coin Toss than an ENT Examination to Determine Reflux | gutsandgrowth

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