Diagnostic Rate of Laryngopharyngeal Reflux Increases With Age

Older patients presenting with laryngopharyngeal reflux symptoms are more likely to be diagnosed with laryngopharyngeal reflux compared with younger patients.

The diagnostic rate of laryngopharyngeal reflux (LPR) is higher among older individuals with suspected LPR symptoms, according to a study published in the Journal of Voice.

This study included 249 individuals (34.1% men; mean age 53.4 years) with LPR symptoms, all of whom received 24-hour hypopharyngeal-esophageal multichannel intraluminal impedance-pH (24h-HEMII-pH) monitoring. Diagnostic rates for LPR were compared between age groups and sexes. Those with confirmed LPR diagnoses were compared for type of reflux and number of reflux episodes by age and sex. Fisher’s exact test and the chi-squared test were used to compare categorical variables, and Student’s t-test was used to compare continuous variables.

Among the 249 individuals with LPR symptoms, 68.3% (57 men and 113 women) received a diagnosis of LPR after 24h-HEMII-pH monitoring. Those older than 55 years had a significantly higher rate of LPR diagnosis than the younger age group (73.5% vs 60.8%, respectively; P =.034). Among women, those in the older age group had a significantly higher diagnosis rate than those in the younger group (75% vs 58.3%, respectively; P =.026). Neither the number of refluxes nor the initial reflux symptom index differed significantly between age groups.

Among those who visited the clinic with suspected LPR symptoms and performed 24h-HEMII-pH monitoring, the diagnostic rate of LPR was higher in the older age group than that in the younger age group.

Limitations to this study include a relatively small number of male participants and the need for further validation of whether proton pump inhibitor treatment improves compliance among older individuals.

The study authors wrote, “Among those who visited the clinic with suspected LPR symptoms and performed 24h-HEMII-pH monitoring the diagnostic rate of LPR was higher in the older age group than that in the younger age group. Additionally, this difference was significant among the women.”

References:

Jeon SY, Park JM, Lee YC, Ko SG, Eun YG. Differences in diagnostic rates after hypopharyngeal-esophageal impedance-pH monitoring of laryngopharyngeal reflux patients by age and sex. J Voice. Published online September 6, 2022. doi: 10.1016/j.jvoice.2022.07.014