Esophagus to Small Intestine
Am J Gastroenterol. 2023;118(5):786−93
Esophageal hypervigilance and visceral anxiety contribute to symptom severity of laryngopharyngeal reflux
Introduction: Laryngopharyngeal reflux (LPR) is a clinical conundrum without a diagnostic gold standard. The Esophageal Hypervigilance and Anxiety Scale (EHAS) is a questionnaire designed for cognitive-affective evaluation of visceral sensitivity. The authors hypothesized that esopha-geal hypervigilance and symptom-specific anxiety have an etiopathological role in generation of LPR symptoms, especially when gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) cannot explain these symptoms.
Methods: Consecutive patients with LPR and/or GERD symptoms lasting > 3 months were prospectively enrolled and characterized using the Reflux Symptom Index, GERD questionnaire, and EHAS. Eligible patients with negative endoscopy underwent 24-hour impedance-pH monitoring off acid suppression for phenotyping GERD and assessment of reflux burden, using conventional metrics (acid exposure time and number of reflux episodes) and novel metrics (mean nocturnal baseline impedance and postreflux swallow-induced peristaltic wave index).
Results: Of 269 enrolled patients (mean age 47.1 years, 21−65 years, 60.6% female), 90 patients were with concomitant GERD and LPR symp-toms, 32 patients were with dominant LPR symptoms, 102 patients were with dominant GERD symptoms, and 45 were controls. Patients with concomitant GERD and LPR symptoms had higher EHAS than those with dominant GERD symptoms and controls (p ≤ 0.001); patients with dom-inant LPR symptoms had higher EHAS than controls (p = 0.007). On Pearson correlation, EHAS positively correlated with the Reflux Symptom Index.
Discussion: Esophageal hypervigilance and symptom-specific anxiety may be more important than reflux burden in laryngopharyngeal reflux symptom perception.