Current Gastroenterology Reports

, Volume 2, Issue 3, pp 210-216

First online:

Diagnosis and management of supra-esophageal complications of reflux disease

  • Timothy T. NostrantAffiliated withDivision of Gastroenterology, University of Michigan Medical Center
  • , John C. RabineAffiliated withDivision of Gastroenterology, University of Michigan Medical Center

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Supra-esophageal reflux disease may be manifested in numerous ways, including reflux laryngitis, chronic cough, chronic sinusitis, and dental enamel loss. The mechanisms of pharyngeal and laryngeal reflux are not clearly defined, and standard reflux testing does not consistently demonstrate supra-esophageal reflux. The diagnosis is usually based on clinical suspicion when other causes of symptoms are not found and on the patient’s response to empiric acid suppression. With the development of triple-probe pH monitoring, through which pharyngeal pH can be assessed along with esophageal pH, the physician may now be able to demonstrate pharyngeal reflux in relation to patient symptoms. Therapy consists primarily of behavioral modification and aggressive acid suppression, although some alternative therapies exist.