Laryngopharyngeal reflux is now of major interest as an aetiologic factor in chronic inflammatory and neoplastic lesions of upper digestive tract. However, reports in the literature refer only to the irritating action of the acid component of reflux, while possible damaging action of other reflux components remains unknown. Aim of this study was to verify the hypothesis that alkaline-bile reflux could also be involved in onset of inflammatory, precancerous and neoplastic laryngeal lesions. A total of 40 consecutive gastrectomized patients coming to our Clinic from Gastroenterology Outpatient Unit for an anamnestic and clinical evaluation with videolaryngoscopy of upper digestive airways, entered the study. All presented bile or alkaline reflux as a direct consequence of gastroduodenal anastomosis (Billroth I) and gastrojejunal anastomosis (Billroth II) performed over a time span > 20 years. Oesophagogastroduodenoscopy revealed the presence of bile in the residual gastric cavity in all operated patients objectively confirming duodenogastric reflux. Examination of data showed that 3 patients (7.5%) had undergone CO2 laser cordectomy in the 3 years prior to the study for squamous cell laryngeal carcinoma, 3 patients (7.5%) had leukoplakia, 8 (20%) vocal cord chronic oedema with signs of chronic diffuse laryngitis, 6 (15%) posterior laryngitis, 8 (20%) interarytenoid oedema while only 12 (30%) showed no ENT lesions. Statistical analysis revealed a significant correlation between incidence of inflammatory and neoplastic laryngeal lesions and type of surgery (Billroth II and total gastrectomy) with respect to other types of gastric resection. There was also a significant increase in presence and severity of laryngopharyngeal lesions in relation to time elapsed after surgery. These results, although preliminary, seem to confirm that some components of reflux (duodenal content), other than the acid component, play a damaging role involved in the onset of multiple clinical signs and symptoms of laryngopharyngeal reflux disease. It is concluded that systematic use of bile measurement, together with 24-hour pH monitoring, is advisable in subjects with clinical signs and symptoms of laryngopharyngeal reflux, but unresponsive to classic medical treatment, and in gastrectomized patients in order to confirm, on larger series, this fascinating aetiopathogenetic hypothesis.
Titolo tradotto del contributo[Autom. eng. transl.] Bile reflux as possible risk factor in laryngo-pharyngeal inflammatory and neoplastic lesions
Lingua originaleItalian
pagine (da-a)82-377
Numero di pagine296
RivistaActa Otorhinolaryngologica Italica
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 2003


  • reflux


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