Background The evaluation of medical and surgical outcomes relies on methods of accurately quantifying treatment results. Currently, there is no validated instrument whose purpose is to document the physical findings and severity of laryngopharyngeal reflux (LPR).
Objective To evaluate the validity and reliability of the reflux finding score (RFS).
Methods Forty patients with LPR confirmed by double-probe pH monitoring were evaluated pretreatment and 2, 4, and 6 months after treatment. The RFS was documented for each patient at each visit. For test–retest intraobserver reliability assessment, a blinded laryngologist determined the RFS on two separate occasions. To evaluate interobserver reliability, the RFS was determined by two different blinded laryngologists.
Results The mean age of the cohort was 50 years (± 12 standard deviation [SD]). Seventy-three percent were women. The RFS at entry was 11.5 (± 5.2 SD). This score improved to 9.3 (± 4.7 SD) at 2 months, 7.3 (± 5.5 SD) at 4 months, and 6.1 (± 5.2 SD) at 6 months of treatment (P <.001 with trend). The mean RFS for laryngologist no. 1 was 10.8 (± 4.1 SD) at the initial screening and 10.8 (± 4.0 SD) at the repeat evaluation (r = 0.95, P <.001). The mean RFS for laryngologist no. 2 was 11.1 (± 3.8 SD) at the initial screening and 10.9 (± 3.7 SD) at the repeat evaluation (r = 0.95, P <.001). The correlation coefficient for interobserver variability was 0.90 (P <.001).
Conclusions The RFS accurately documents treatment efficacy in patients with LPR. It demonstrates excellent inter- and intraobserver reproducibility.