OBJECTIVE: The objective of this work was to gather an international consensus group to propose a global definition and diagnostic approach of laryngopharyngeal reflux (LPR) to guide primary care and specialist physicians in the management of LPR.
METHODS: Forty-eight international experts (otolaryngologists, gastroenterologists, surgeons, and physiologists) were included in a modified Delphi process to revise 48 statements about definition, clinical presentation, and diagnostic approaches to LPR. Three voting rounds determined a consensus statement to be acceptable when 80% of experts agreed with a rating of at least 8/10. Votes were anonymous and the analyses of voting rounds were performed by an independent statistician.
RESULTS: After the third round, 79.2% of statements (N = 38/48) were approved. LPR was defined as a disease of the upper aerodigestive tract resulting from the direct and/or indirect effects of gastroduodenal content reflux, inducing morphological and/or neurological changes in the upper aerodigestive tract. LPR is associated with recognized non-specific laryngeal and extra-laryngeal symptoms and signs that can be evaluated with validated patient-reported outcome questionnaires and clinical instruments. The hypopharyngeal-esophageal multichannel intraluminal impedance-pH testing can suggest the diagnosis of LPR when there is >1 acid, weakly acid or nonacid hypopharyngeal reflux event in 24 h.
CONCLUSION: A global consensus definition for LPR is presented to improve detection and diagnosis of the disease for otolaryngologists, pulmonologists, gastroenterologists, surgeons, and primary care practitioners. The approved statements are offered to improve collaborative research by adopting common and validated diagnostic approaches to LPR.
LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: 5 Laryngoscope, 2023.