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Variability and accuracy of multiple saliva pepsin measurements in laryngopharyngeal reflux patients.

OBJECTIVE: To study the variability and diagnostic value of multiple salivary pepsin measurements in the detection of laryngopharyngeal reflux (LPR).

METHODS: Patients with LPR symptoms were consecutively recruited from December 2019 to Augustus 2022. Twenty-one asymptomatic individuals completed the study. The diagnostic was confirmed with hypopharyngeal-esophageal impedance-pH monitoring (HEMII-pH). Patients collected three saliva samples during the 24-h testing period. Symptoms and findings were studied with reflux symptom score-12 and reflux sign assessment. Sensitivity, specificity, positive (PPV) and negative (NPV) predictive values of pepsin measurements were calculated considering morning, post-lunch and post-dinner samples. The consistency and relationship between HEMII-pH, pepsin measurements, and clinical features were investigated.

RESULTS: Morning, post-lunch and post-dinner saliva pepsin concentrations were measured in 42 patients. Pepsin measurements were 64.9%, 59.5%, and 59.0% sensitive for morning, post-lunch and post-dinner collections at cutoff ≥ 16 ng/mL. Considering the highest concentration of the three pepsin saliva collections, the accuracy, sensitivity, specificity and PPV were 70.5%, 73.0%; 66.7% and 78.9%, respectively. Morning pepsin measurements reported higher consistency, sensitivity, and specificity than post-dinner and post-lunch pepsin measurements.

CONCLUSION: The collection of several saliva pepsin samples improves the detection rate of LPR. In case of high clinical LPR suspicion and negative pepsin test, a HEMII-pH study could provide further diagnostic information.

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