Gastroesophageal Reflux and Voice Changes: Objective Assessment of Voice Quality and Impact of Antireflux Therapy

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Background and Aim:Voice-related complaints are the most common extraesophageal manifestation of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). The aim of this study was to compare objectively measured voice parameters in normal subjects and patients with GERD and to assess the impact of antireflux surgery on these parameters in patients with reflux disease.Methods:Normal subjects and patients with reflux symptoms were asked to read a standardized, phonetically balanced text while the impedance across vocal cords was recorded using electroglottography. Irregularity in the voice frequency (CFx) and amplitude (CAx) as well as irregularity of the closed phase ratio of vocal cords (CQx) were calculated. These 3 voice parameters were compared between the normal subjects and patients with gastroesophageal reflux. In a subgroup of GERD patients who underwent antireflux surgery, electroglottography was repeated 3 months or later after surgery and the voice parameters were compared with preoperative values.Results:There were 55 normal subjects and 32 patients with GERD. Compared with normal subjects, GERD patients had a significantly higher irregularity in both voice frequency (P=0.04) and amplitude (P=0.03). The CQx did not differ significantly between the 2 groups (P=0.18). In 16 GERD patients who underwent surgery, a significant improvement in postoperative values was observed for both voice frequency (CFx: 48.4 vs. 30.4, P=0.002) and amplitude (CAx: 25.9 vs. 9.3, P=0.004).Conclusions:There are measurable alterations in voice quality in patients with GERD when compared with normal subjects. Antireflux surgery improves the irregularity in both amplitude and frequency of voice in patients with reflux disease.

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