Indian Journal of Nuclear Medicine
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Year : 2018  |  Volume : 33  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 25-31

Scintigraphic evaluation of esophageal motility and gastroesophageal reflux in patients presenting with upper respiratory tract symptoms

Department of Nuclear Medicine and PET-CT, Apollo Hospitals, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Jaykanth Amalachandran
Department of Nuclear Medicine and PET-CT, Apollo Hospitals, No. 21, Greams Lane, Off Greams Road, Chennai - 600 006, Tamil Nadu
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ijnm.IJNM_97_17

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Purpose of Study: The purpose is to evaluate the findings and utility of esophageal transit scintigraphy (ETS) and gastroesophageal reflux scintigraphy (GES) in patients presenting with upper respiratory tract (URT) symptoms suspected to be due to gastroesophageal reflux (GER) disease. Materials and Methods: Thirty patients aged between 19 and 60 years underwent nasopharyngolaryngoscopy (NPL), ETS, and GES. Correlation between GER, esophageal motility, and NPL was evaluated. Inclusion criteria include patients with recurrent URT symptoms such as chronic dry cough/hoarseness of voice and itching/foreign body sensation in throat. Those with typical gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms of GER, URT symptoms relieved by antibiotics, surgical intervention in abdomen, cardiac/hepatobiliary diseases, etc. were excluded from the study. Results: Significant correlation was found between GER and NPL in 28/30 patients. More the grade of reflux, more severe was the NPL findings. Two patients with Grade II reflux had normal NPL suggesting structural inflammatory changes due to acidic pH of refluxate which have not yet manifested or symptoms could be due to nonacid refluxate. Incidence of esophageal motility disorder was statistically significant in patients with GER disease (GERD). Patients who had symptoms, but no demonstrable GER showed delayed ET in supine position suggesting the presence of esophageal motility disorder even before GERD. Conclusion: GES demonstrated GER in patients presenting with URT symptoms without typical GI symptoms. ETS showed coexistence of esophageal motility disorder in most patients presenting with URT symptoms even without an associated reflux disease. We hypothesize that primary abnormal esophageal motility leads to delayed esophageal clearance and consequently to URT symptoms. Addition of ETS to GES is easily feasible with no significant additional cost, time, or radiation burden.

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