Pharyngeal pH monitoring is the standard diagnostic approach for laryngopharyngeal reflux (LPR). However, the normal values for Asian populations are still unknown. We evaluated the results of ambulatory 24-h pharyngeal pH monitoring in healthy volunteers to determine the normal reference values in the Korean population. Thirty healthy subjects underwent ambulatory 24-h pharyngeal pH monitoring with glass electrodes positioned 1 cm above the upper esophageal sphincter and 5 cm above the lower esophageal sphincter, based on esophageal manometry after upper gastrointestinal endoscopy. LPR occurred in about one half of the healthy volunteers without any significant association with age, gender and body mass index. Pharyngeal acid reflux occurred mainly in the upright position. At the 95th and 90th percentile, after the exclusion of mealtimes, the upper limits of normal (ULN) for pharyngeal acid exposure were 0.41% and 0.18%. The ULNs for the number of pharyngeal acid events were 12.8 and 5.0. The corresponding ULNs for the esophagus were 5.1% and 3.8% and 62.7 and 32.6. The findings of this study help establish the reference standards for LPR in Korean patients.
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