Objective: To determine the correlation between findings at direct laryngoscopy and bronchoscopy and presence of extraesophageal reflux disease (EERD). Study Design: Retrospective chart review Methods: Operative notes of 155 children undergoing direct laryngoscopy and bronchoscopy between 1996 and 1999 for airway symptoms for whom there was a suspicion of EERD were examined. Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) was considered present if at least one test was positive (including upper GI series, pH probe, gastric scintiscan, or esophageal biopsy). Results: A total of 130 (84%) patients had GERD diagnosed. Ninety percent had at least one laryngotracheal abnormality: 83% had an abnormal larynx and 66% had an abnormal trachea. Laryngeal abnormalities in GERD included postglottic edema, 69%; arytenoid edema, 30%; large lingual tonsil, 16%; vocal fold edema, 12%; vocal fold nodule, 12%; ventricular obliteration, 5%; and hypopharyngeal cobblestoning, 3%. Tracheobronchial abnormalities in GERD included tracheal cobblestoning, 33%; blunting of carina, 12.5%; subglottic stenosis, 11%; increased secretions, 11%; and generalized edema or erythema, 5%. The best sensitivity or specificity was obtained by combining postglottic edema, arytenoid edema, and vocal fold edema, resulting in a sensitivity of 75% and a specificity of 67%. Positive predictive value was 100% for the combination of postglottic edema and any vocal fold or ventricular abnormality. Conclusion: Laryngoscopy and bronchoscopy can reveal findings with a high positive predictive value for the presence of GERD. Endoscopy of the upper airway in children with clinical signs and symptoms of EERD is a promising tool for diagnosis.
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