• Defined by physical characteristics of reflux events:
- 51.3% were liquid
- 29.1% were gas
- 19.6% were mixed
- 48.5% were acidic
- 51.5% were non-acidic
- 79.2% reached the throat/mouth level
- 20.8% stayed in the chest level
Although these findings are specific for neonates, adults experience similar problems, though precise numbers are probably different and need more study.
Laryngopharyngeal reflux is when reflux reaches the throat level. Depending on the chemical characteristics of the reflux (acid vs non-acid as well as how high it goes), the symptoms may be quite variable. NON-acid reflux is considered "silent" and patients may not experience any symptoms of heartburn. Rather, common symptoms include:
• Phlegmy throat
• Chronic cough
• Swollen sensation in the throat (globus)
• Chronic throat-clearing
These results point out another issue... Common medications used to treat reflux (zantac, pepcid, nexium, prilosec, prevacid, etc) only treats ACID reflux. Not NON-acid reflux.
As such, other modalities must be pursued to address symptomatic non-acid reflux beyond medications involving lifestyle changes including diet as well as surgery.
Whether it be babies or adults, characterization of the spatial-temporal-physical-chemical nature of reflux events as defined by pH-impedance methods offers the best chance of evaluating and treating symptoms due to reflux.
Or in more simplistic terms...
Significance of gastroesophageal refluxate in relation to physical, chemical, and spatiotemporal characteristics in symptomatic intensive care unit neonates. Pediatr Res. 2011 Aug;70(2):192-8.