Correlation between reflux and multichannel intraluminal impedance pH monitoring in untreated volunteers

Marie E. Jetté, Eric A. Gaumnitz, Martin A. Birchall, Nathan V. Welham, Susan L. Thibeault

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Objectives/Hypothesis: Although probable causative agents have been identified (e.g., refluxate components, tobacco smoke), the definitive mechanism for inflammation-related laryngeal mucosal damage remains elusive. Multichannel intraluminal impedance combined with pH monitoring (MII/pH) has emerged as a sensitive tool for diagnosis and characterization of gastroesophageal reflux disease with laryngopharyngeal manifestations. To determine the relationship between laryngeal signs and MII/pH, we examined correlations between Reflux Finding Score (RFS) ratings of videostroboscopic laryngeal examinations and findings from MII/pH. Study Design: Correlational study. Methods: Healthy, untreated volunteers (n = 142) underwent reflux diagnosis using data acquired from MII/pH testing. Eight trained clinicians performed RFS ratings of corresponding laryngeal examinations. Averaged RFS ratings were compared to MII/pH data using Pearson correlation coefficients. The relationship between RFS and MII/pH findings and demographic/clinical information (age, sex, smoking status, reflux) was assessed using general linear modeling. Rater reliability was evaluated. Results: Posterior commissure hypertrophy was negatively correlated with minutes of nonacid refluxate (R = -0.21, P = .0115). General linear modeling revealed that 28% to 40% of the variance in ratings of ventricular obliteration, erythema/hyperemia, vocal fold edema, diffuse laryngeal edema, posterior commissure hypertrophy, and granulation/granuloma could be explained by main and interaction effects of age, sex, smoking status, and reflux. Intra- and inter-rater reliability for RFS were poor-fair. Conclusions: These results support the theory that the RFS is not specific for reflux in healthy, untreated volunteers, suggesting there may be alternate explanations for inflammatory clinical signs commonly ascribed to reflux in this population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2345-2351
Number of pages7
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Gastroesophageal reflux
  • Impedance monitoring
  • Laryngopharyngeal reflux
  • Laryngopharyngeal reflux diagnosis
  • pH monitoring
  • Reflux Finding Score

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology
  • Medicine(all)


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