To determine the clinical value of pharyngeal pH monitoring for the diagnosis of laryngopharyngeal reflux (LPR) by using a double-probe, triple-sensor catheter in patients with symptoms of LPR.
Prospective review of pH values recorded at the pharyngeal sensor, with the sensor placed in the proximal esophagus in patients with suspected LPR.
Tertiary care university hospital.
Thirty-three consecutive patients with symptoms of LPR.
Main Outcome Measures
A pH test result was considered abnormal if a single reflux episode was detected in the hypopharynx and if, in the proximal esophagus, the total percentage of time the pH value was below 4 was 1.0% or higher. Data obtained from sensors were compared to determine the validity of pharyngeal sensor. Correlation between patients' reflux finding scores, reflux finding indexes, and reflux episodes were analyzed.
Of 33 patients, 17 had more than 1 reflux episode detected by the pharyngeal sensor and 19 had pathological reflux detected by the proximal esophageal sensor. Four patients who had pharyngeal reflux had a normal esophageal acid exposure time, and 6 patients who had pathological reflux detected by the proximal esophageal sensor did not experienced any pharyngeal reflux episode. Four patients would have had a false-negative test result and 6 subjects would have had a false-positive test result if a hypopharyngeal pH sensor was not implemented.
The adjustable, bifurcated, triple-sensor pH probe allows identifying true hypopharyngeal reflux episodes. If single-probe, double-sensor pH monitoring is to be performed, the proximal probe should be placed in the pharynx, not in the upper esophagus.