Reflux Laryngitis: A Feasible Indication for Laparoscopic Antireflux Surgery?

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Laparoscopic fundoplication is a routine surgical approach in the treatment of moderate or severe gastro-esophageal reflux disease. However, there are still contradictions regarding supraesophageal symptoms as an indication for surgery. The aim of this study was to determine the subjective symptomatic outcome and objective laryngeal findings after antireflux surgery in patients with pH monitoring proven reflux laryngitis. Between 1998 and 2002, 40 patients with reflux laryngitis underwent laparoscopic Nissen fundoplication. Patients were referred to surgery and followed-up by a specialist in otorhinolaryngology. Subjective symptoms were collected by a structured questionnaire at a median follow-up of 42 months. The objective laryngeal findings improved from the preoperative situation; at 12 months after surgery, the otorhinolaryngeal status was improved in 92.3% (n=24) of the patients. However, only 38.5% (n=10) of these patients evaluated an improvement in their voice quality. Of all, 62.5% (n=25) of the patients reported no or only mild cough or voice hoarseness symptoms postoperatively, 22.5% (n=9) had moderate symptoms, and 15.0% (n=6) suffered from difficult supraesophageal symptoms. Ninety-five percent of the patients regarded the result of their surgery excellent, good, or satisfactory. Of all, 82.5% (n=33) of the patients would still choose surgery, 7.5% (n=3) would abstain from surgery, and 10% (n=4) of the patients were hesitant about their choice. For patients suffering from supraesophageal symptoms of gastro-esophageal reflux disease with objective evidence of pharyngeal acid exposure, laparoscopic Nissen fundoplication provides a good and alternative adding to current treatment.

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