Involvement of Laryngopharyngeal Reflux in Select Nonfunctional Laryngeal Diseases: A Systematic Review

Jerome R. Lechien, Lee M. Akst, Sven Saussez, Lise Crevier-Buchman, Stéphane Hans, Maria Rosaria Barillari, Christian Calvo-Henriquez, Jonathan M. Bock, Thomas L. Carroll

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Objectives: To investigate the existing published evidence supporting the role of laryngopharyngeal reflux (LPR) in the development of the select nonfunctional laryngeal diseases of laryngotracheal stenosis, granuloma, leukoplakia, and laryngeal infections Data Sources: PubMed, Cochrane Library, and Scopus. Review Methods: A systematic review was performed by 3 independent investigators for studies providing information about the prevalence and role of LPR in the development of laryngotracheal stenosis, granuloma, leukoplakia, and laryngeal infections. Diagnostic criteria and clinical outcome evaluation of included studies were analyzed with PRISMA criteria. Results: Of the 64 relevant publications, 27 clinical and 4 basic science studies were included. Ten studies used objective reliable examinations for LPR diagnosis (eg, dual- or triple-probe or oropharyngeal pH monitoring, multichannel intraluminal impedance–pH monitoring, or pepsin detection). According to the bias analysis and the results of studies, the association between LPR and laryngotracheal stenosis, leukoplakia, laryngeal papillomatosis, or vocal fold granuloma remains poorly demonstrated. There is a notable heterogeneity among included studies regarding their inclusion criteria, diagnostic methods, and clinical outcome evaluation. Although some experimental findings support the involvement of bile salts and other gastroduodenal proteins active in alkaline pH, no included clinical studies assessed the role of nonacid and mixed reflux through multichannel intraluminal impedance–pH monitoring. Conclusion: The involvement of LPR in the development of leukoplakia, laryngotracheal stenosis, vocal fold granuloma, and laryngeal papillomatosis is currently not demonstrated. The potential relationship between LPR and these select nonfunctional laryngeal diseases must be confirmed through future clinical and experimental studies considering acid, nonacid, and mixed LPR.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)37-48
Number of pages12
JournalOtolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery (United States)
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2021


  • granuloma
  • infection
  • laryngeal
  • laryngopharyngeal
  • larynx
  • leukoplakia
  • reflux
  • stenosis
  • tracheal
  • vocal folds

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Otorhinolaryngology


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