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Reflux Finding Score Using HD Video Chromoendoscopy: A Diagnostic Adjunct in Suspected Laryngopharyngeal Reflux?

      Summary

      Objective

      To explore the use of real-time virtual chromoendoscopy (i-scan) in characterizing the mucosal changes present in subjects with suspected laryngopharyngeal reflux (LPR) and to compare the inter-rater and intra-rater agreement of Reflux Finding Scores (RFS) from both laryngologists and general otolaryngologists (ORL) observing exams using both white light endoscopy (WLE) and i-scan.

      Methods

      This is a cross-sectional study that included 66 subjects: 46 symptomatic and 20 asymptomatic of suspected LPR based on the reflux symptom index (RSI). Subjects underwent flexible video laryngoscopic evaluation of the larynx utilising both WLE and i-scan during one continuous exam. Subjects also underwent 24-hour oropharyngeal pH-monitoring (Dx-pH). Two laryngologists and two general otolaryngologists evaluated the anonymized videos independently using RFS. Dx-pH results were interpreted using the pH graph, report and RYAN score. Subjects were then designated into one of three groups: no reflux, acid reflux and alkaline reflux.

      Results

      For the symptomatic group, no mucosal irregularities or early mucosal lesions were observed except in one subject who had granulation tissue. The mean RFS using WLE and i-scan were, respectively: 11.8 (SD 6.1) and 11.3 (SD 5.6) in symptomatic and 7.3 (SD 5.7) and 7.3 (SD 5.2) in asymptomatic group. The inter-rater agreement of RFS using WLE and i-scan for both groups were good with intraclass correlation, ICC of 0.84 and 0.88 (laryngologists); and 0.85 and 0.81 (ORL). The intra-rater agreement among all four raters were good to excellent and similar for both WLE and i-scan (ICC of 0.80 to 0.99). 47 of 66 subjects had evidence of LPR on Dx-pH results which more specifically showed 39 subjects had “acid reflux” and 8 had “alkaline reflux”. Sixteen subjects demonstrated a positive RYAN score but showed none were significantly correlated with their RFS.

      Conclusions

      This study reports the first utilization of real-time video chromoendoscopy with i-scan technology through high-definition flexible endoscopes to attempt to characterize laryngopharyngeal findings in patients suspected of having LPR. Both general otolaryngologists and laryngologists were equally capable of reliably calculating the RFS using both WLE and i-scan, however no significant improvement in agreement or change in RFS was found when i-scan technology was employed.

      Level of evidence

      Level 2

      Key Words

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