We aimed to evaluate a possible relation between gastroesophageal reflux disease and middle ear effusion in children.
Children who came to ear, nose, and throat (ENT) department with the symptoms of hearing loss or aural fullness and diagnosed as OME by examination and tympanometry were included into the study. Children were reviewed gastroesophageal reflux disease symptoms including the following: (a) airway symptoms: stridor, frequent cough, recurrent croup, wheezing, nasal congestion, obstructive apnea, hoarseness, and throat clearing; (b) feeding symptoms: frequent emesis, dysphagia, choking: gagging, sore throat, halitosis, food refusal, regurgitation, pyrosis, irritability, failure to thrive, and anemia. Diagnosis is made with at least one positive test of radionuclide gastroesophageal scintigraphy or 24 h pH probe in the patients with reflux. ENT findings were also examined between gastroesophageal reflux disease positive and gastroesophageal reflux disease negative groups.
Approximately 39 (54.9%) of 71 children had at least 1 positive test for gastroesophageal reflux disease. Between the gastroesophageal reflux disease–positive and gastroesophageal reflux disease–negative groups, symptoms of reflux were not significantly different. Two pooled variables were created: airway complex (stridor, frequent cough, throat clearing), and feeding complex (irritability, pyrosis, failure to thrive). Percentage of positive symptom complexes were no statistically different between gastroesophageal reflux disease–positive and gastroesophageal reflux disease–negative groups (>0.05). Ear, nose, and throat disorders (including rhinitis/sinusitis, adenoid hypertrophy, tonsillitis/pharyngitis, and laryngitis) were more frequent in gastroesophageal reflux disease–positive group. Tonsillitis/pharyngitis was significantly different between the gastroesophageal reflux disease positive and gastroesophageal reflux disease–negative groups.
Upper respiratory tract infections were seen more frequently in gastroesophageal reflux disease positive group. Children who present with gastroesophageal reflux disease symptoms are more likely to have a positive gastroesophageal reflux disease test. However, no concordance may be found between the complaints and gastroesophageal reflux disease findings. For this reason, a decision about gastroesophageal reflux disease should not only be made by looking to complaints; diagnostic tests must also be performed.