Checking on a number of different on-line forums and facebook pages each day, I noticed many common questions concerning symptoms which I had also previously experienced (see the Barrett's and Refluxer pages), so I ran a patient survey and obtained these results.

A copy of this paper may be downloaded at the bottom of the page.

2014 August 
Aspiration of Upper Oesophageal Reflux 
Chris Robinson 
Chairman of Barrett's Wessex 

Background and Aims 
Acid reflux has been the focus of many studies of reflux at the Lower Oesophageal Sphincter (GORD) readily identified by symptoms such as heartburn which may lead to the pre-cancerous lesion, Barrett's oesophagus. Normal treatment is usually delivered via Acid Suppressant Medication (PPIs or H2RAs) to reduce acidity and damage to the oesophagus. 
Although other reflux symptoms, e.g. chronic cough, have been recognised, they have frequently been attributed to LOS reflux and attempts to medicate with ASMs have been largely ineffective. 
This study proposes reflux via the Upper Oesophageal Sphincter (cricopharyngeus), also commonly referred to as LaryngoPharyngeal Reflux (LPR), requires better understanding. 

Methods 
A simple Anecdotal Patient survey was established. Using commonly reported symptoms reported via on-line forums and facebook groups, a simple questionnaire was developed using Survey Monkey. 
Limitations: Only 100 responses were allowed without excessive expenditure. 
Structure and design: One simple question listed 13 commonly reported symptoms and requested respondents to indicate which they experienced. An extra box allowed for further symptoms to be listed. Respondents could only undertake the survey once. 
The questionnaire was advertised on the following On-line forums: Barrett's Oesophagus Campaign forum, MD Junction GERD forum, MD Junction Barrett's Esophagus forum, Health Central Acid Reflux forum, and Facebook groups: Barrett's Wessex, Barrett's Esophagus Awareness, Raising Awareness – Cancer of the Oesophagus, LINX surgery for GERD. The 100 responses limit of the questionnaire was exceeded within 2 days. 

Results 
From the list of symptoms presented, 
70% reported experiencing Hoarseness, 64% constant throat clearing, 58% post nasal drip, 58% 
chronic cough, 53% sinusitis, 53% bad taste in mouth, 50% Globus (lump in throat), 42% Asthma-like symptoms (shortness of breath), 41% tooth decay or sharp edges to teeth, 35% Catarrhal symptoms (blocked nose), 35% Loss of voice, 35% dry or gritty eyes, 30% nocturnal ear waxing (particularly right ear {reflux being more common when lying on the right side}) 
In other responses, the following indicators were highly indicated: Bad breath, Tinnitus, Hyposmia (poor sense of smell), Sore throat. 
Retrospectively, whilst most of the respondents were assumed to have been taking ASMs due to their presence on the specified forums, this was not established within the questionnaire. 

Conclusions 
Although GOR is commonly recognised, extra-oesophageal reflux via the UOS requires further attention. GORD medication may not be efficacious for LPR. Reflux reduction surgery may be more appropriate. 

 
 Above: the results to the questions asked.

 Left: results displayed graphically.
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Chris Robinson,
Jun 12, 2015, 1:36 AM