Digestive Diseases and Sciences

, Volume 51, Issue 2, pp 282–288 | Cite as

Determinants of Long-Term Outcome of Patients with Reflux-Related Ear, Nose, and Throat Symptoms

  • Johan Poelmans
  • Louw Feenstra
  • Jan TackEmail author
Esophageal, Gastric, and Duodenal Disorders


Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is present in up to 75% of patients with chronic refractory ear, nose, and throat (ENT) symptoms, and proton pump inhibitor (PPI) therapy induces symptom relief in the majority of these patients. It has been suggested that endoscopic findings and quantification of esophageal acid exposure may help to predict the long-term outcome of medical therapy, but prospective studies that confirm this hypothesis are lacking. The aim of the present study was to investigate the relationship of endoscopic findings and quantification of reflux with long-term outcome in patients with reflux-related ENT symptoms. One hundred six consecutive patients with chronic refractory unexplained ENT symptoms underwent upper GI endoscopy, 24-hr dual-channel esophageal pH and Bilitec (n = 35) monitoring, and esophageal manometry. Subsequently, all were treated with omeprazole, 20 mg b.i.d., and patients were followed at 2-week intervals until symptom relief. Four weeks later, omeprazole therapy was gradually decreased and the lowest effective omeprazole maintenance dose, if any, was determined. Eighty-one patients (49 men; mean age, 50) experienced a clear or excellent therapeutic response after, on average, 4 weeks of omeprazole, 20 mg b.i.d. In 36 patients (44%; group A), PPI treatment could be stopped completely, 27 patients (33%; group B) required a maintenance dose of omeprazole, 20 mg/day, and 18 patients (22%; group C) required maintenance with omeprazole, 40 mg/day. The prevalence of reflux esophagitis was significantly lower in group A patients, who also had significantly lower distal esophageal acid exposure, proximal esophageal acid exposure, and esophageal duodenogastroesophageal reflux exposure compared to groups B and C. Multivariate analysis identified the presence of esophagitis and pathological distal esophageal acid exposure as risk factors for the need of maintenance therapy. In patients with reflux-related ENT symptoms, initial findings on upper GI endoscopy and 24-hr pH-metry help to predict the need for maintenance therapy.

Key Words

proton pump inhibitor gastroesophageal reflux extraesophageal reflux 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Otorhinolaryngology-Head and Neck SurgeryUniversity Hospitals LeuvenLeuvenBelgium
  2. 2.Department of Medicine, Division of GastroenterologyUniversity Hospitals LeuvenLeuvenBelgium
  3. 3.Center for Gastroenterological ResearchCatholic University of LeuvenLeuvenBelgium

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