Does laryngopharyngeal reflux cause intraoral burning sensations? A preliminary study

Department of Otorhinolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, Ludwig Maximilians University, Munich, Germany.
Archives of Oto-Rhino-Laryngology (Impact Factor: 1.55). 02/2011; 268(9):1375-81. DOI: 10.1007/s00405-011-1543-9
Source: PubMed


Intraoral burning sensations are a common problem in the otolaryngological practice. The aim of this study was to evaluate if laryngopharyngeal reflux can cause intraoral burning sensations by measuring oropharyngeal acid reflux. Patients with recurring intraoral burning sensations underwent oropharyngeal pH monitoring in our outpatient clinic. The pH catheter was placed at the level of the uvula. The catheter contained an externally worn transmitter, which wirelessly sent the data to a monitor. In addition, patients were instructed to indicate meals or the occurrence of burning sensations by pressing provided buttons on the monitor. Corresponding events of burning sensations and a significant decrease in oropharyngeal pH values should be visualized. Twenty two patients suffering from recurring intraoral burning sensations underwent oropharyngeal pH measurement for 21-25 h. We could find oropharyngeal reflux episodes in 11 patients. However, we could not detect any episodes of burning sensations in the mouth corresponding with a decrease in oropharyngeal pH values. Our results suggest that there is no causal connection between LPR episodes and the occurrence of intraoral burning sensations in the examined patients. Although further studies with more patients are necessary in the future, we conclude from our findings that recurring intraoral burning sensations are not an indication for proton pump inhibitor therapy.

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