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The clinical characteristics of gastroesophageal reflux disease in patients with laryngeal symptoms who are referred to gastroenterology


  • Declaration of personal and funding interests: None.

Dr Myung-Gyu Choi, MD, Department of Internal Medicine, College of Medicine, Seoul St. Mary's hospital, The Catholic University of Korea, Banpo 4(sa)-dong Seocho-gu, Seoul, 137-701, Korea. Email:


The prevalence of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) has increased recently in Asia-Pacific countries. However, little is known about its prevalence and clinical characteristics in GERD patients with atypical symptoms in Asia. The aim of this study was to investigate the clinical characteristics of GERD in patients who had laryngeal symptoms in Korea. Data were gathered retrospectively from patients who presented with atypical symptoms, such as throat discomfort, globus pharyngeus, hoarseness, and chronic cough. They underwent a 24-hour ambulatory intraesophageal pH monitoring and filled in a validated reflux questionnaire. Overall, 128 patients (36 men and 92 women) with laryngeal symptoms were included. Of these 128, 43 patients (34%) had erosive esophagitis or pathological reflux from 24-hour ambulatory pH monitoring, and 24 (19%) had a positive Bernstein test or positive symptom index from 24-hour pH monitoring. Sixty-one patients (48%) had no evidence of reflux esophagitis on upper endoscopy and pathological acid reflux on 24-hour pH monitoring. Fifty-six patients (44%) had weekly heartburn or regurgitation. Typical symptoms and dyspepsia were significantly more common in patients with GERD who had laryngeal symptoms than non-GERD. Fifty-two percent of patients had laryngeal symptoms that were associated with GERD. The presence of typical reflux symptoms and dyspepsia are risk factors for GERD in patients who present with laryngeal symptoms.