June 12, 2012

Saliva Test for Laryngopharyngeal Reflux (LPR)

Various groups have been developing a fast, cheap, non-invasive saliva swab test to determine whether laryngopharyngeal reflux (LPR) is present or not. LPR may cause symptoms of:

When you compare a spit test to the current way of how reflux is determined via barium swallow, upper endoscopy (EGD), and 24 hour ph/impedance testing, it sounds quite attractive.

How does such a test work?

It basically looks for a stomach protein called pepsin.

Given reflux is when stomach contents moves up towards the mouth and pepsin is a protein ONLY produced in the stomach... pepsin should NOT be found in the throat/mouth.

As such, the test can state "yes" or "no" whether LPR is present or not. Keep in mind that this test does NOT inform what type of reflux is present whether acid reflux or non-acid reflux, nor does it reliably inform how severe the reflux is.  Only the 24 hour ph/impedance testing can provide such information.

How good is the test?

Depending on the study, sensitivity ranges in the 80-100% (can actually detect reflux if truly present) and specificity is around 85% (truly no reflux if test is negative).

One test company is rdbiomed using their Peptest kit.

Unfortunately, such testing is not offered in most labs except in Europe. (This test is currently not FDA approved and as such, is not even available for purchase yet in the United States. However, FDA approval is expected in 2014.)

However, we do offer this test in our office for current patients of ours. Click here for more info.

However, you can order this test yourself as an individual. It is recommended you take the standard 3 sample peptest. Click here for more information.

Sensitive pepsin immunoassay for detection of laryngopharyngeal reflux. Laryngoscope. 2005 Aug;115(8):1473-8.

Rapid salivary pepsin test: Blinded assessment of test performance in gastroesophageal reflux disease. Laryngoscope. 2012 Jun;122(6):1312-6. doi: 10.1002/lary.23252. Epub 2012 Mar 23.

Is Pepsin a Reliable Marker of Laryngopharyngeal Reflux? A Systematic Review. Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2017 Sep;157(3):385-391. doi: 10.1177/0194599817709430. Epub 2017 Jun 6.

The Diagnostic Usefullness of the Salivary Pepsin Test in Symptomatic Laryngopharyngeal Reflux. J Voice. 2018 Oct 9. pii: S0892-1997(18)30081-X. doi: 10.1016/j.jvoice.2018.07.008. [Epub ahead of print]
Fauquier blog
Fauquier ENT

Dr. Christopher Chang is a private practice otolaryngology, head & neck surgeon specializing in the treatment of problems related to the ear, nose, and throat. Located in Warrenton, VA about 45 minutes west of Washington DC, he also provides inhalant allergy testing/treatment, hearing tests, and dispenses hearing aids. He is also the chief medical officer of O2Labz, a medical and scientific 3D animation company.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi Dr Chang
I have used the Peptest from RDBiomed several times to detect Pepsin as a reliable marker for LPR prior an post my surgery for LINX. The test is fast and because it is just a saliva sample totally non invasive and painless unlike the many endoscopy exams I have endured.
I believe US patients can now send samples via Fedex to the UK and get a 48 hour result.
I use it to monitor the post op effectiveness of my surgery. I think consultants should do more of this to check the effectiveness of surgery.

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