Chronic cough is a laryngeal symptom that can be caused by gastroesophageal reflux disease; however, treatment outcome has been difficult to predict because of the lack of an objective testing modality that accurately detects reflux-related cough.
To define the patterns of reflux and assess the outcome of antireflux surgery (ARS) in patients with chronic cough who were selected using hypopharyngeal multichannel intraluminal impedance (HMII).
Review of prospectively collected data.
Tertiary care university hospital.
Patients with chronic cough, which was defined as persistent cough (≥8 weeks) of unknown cause.
Hypopharyngeal multichannel intraluminal impedance with a specialized catheter to detect laryngopharyngeal reflux and high-esophageal reflux (reflux 2 cm distal to the upper esophageal sphincter) and ARS.
Main Outcomes and Measures
Abnormal proximal exposure was defined as laryngopharyngeal reflux occurring 1 or more times per day and/or high-esophageal reflux occurring 5 or more times per day. The outcomes of ARS included symptomatic improvement.
From October 2009 to June 2011, a total of 314 symptomatic patients underwent HMII. Of this population, 49 patients (15 men, 34 women; median age, 57 years) were identified as having chronic cough. Of the 49 participants, 23 of 44 patients (52%) had objective findings of gastroesophageal reflux disease, such as esophagitis. Abnormal proximal exposure was discovered in 36 of the 49 patients (73%). Of 16 patients with abnormal proximal exposure who subsequently underwent ARS, 13 patients (81%) had resolution of cough and 3 patients (19%) had significant improvement at a median follow-up of 4.6 months (range, 0.5-13 months).
Conclusions and Relevance
A highly selective group of patients with idiopathic chronic cough may have abnormal proximal exposure to gastroesophageal reflux documented by HMII that would have not been detected with conventional pH testing. Thus, HMII is likely to improve the sensitivity of laryngopharyngeal reflux diagnosis and better elucidate those who will respond to antireflux surgery.