Wanzhen Li, Tongyangzi Zhang, Wenhua Gu, Wenbo Shi, Shengyuan Wang, Yiqing Zhu, Cuiqin Shi, Li Yu, Xianghuai Xu

A comparison between a gastroesophageal reflux disease questionnaire-based algorithm and multichannel intraluminal impedance-pH monitoring for the treatment of gastroesophageal reflux-induced chronic cough

  • Pharmacology (medical)
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine

Background: Empiric therapy with multichannel intraluminal impedance-pH monitoring (MII-pH) has been used for the initial treatment of gastroesophageal reflux-induced chronic cough (GERC). However, an algorithm based on the gastroesophageal reflux disease questionnaire (GerdQ) has the potential to achieve a simple, structured, and effective treatment approach for patients with GERC. Objectives: This study compared the efficacy of anti-reflux therapy based on GerdQ (new structured pathway, NSP) with medical treatment after MII-pH examination (ordinary clinical pathway, OCP) in the management of GERC. Design: For the NSP, we adapted the GerdQ score to establish the basis for a treatment algorithm. For the OCP, treatment was determined using the MII-pH examination results. Methods: The non-inferiority (NI) hypothesis was used to evaluate NSP versus OCP. Results: Overall, the NSP and OCP-based therapeutic algorithms have similar efficacy for GERC [NI analysis: 95% confidence interval (CI), −4.97 to 17.73, p = 0.009; superiority analysis: p = 0.420]. Moreover, the cough symptom scores and cough threshold improved faster in the NSP group than in the OCP group at week 8 ( p < 0.05). In the subgroup analyses using the GerdQ and GerdQ impact scale (GIS) scores, patients with low-likelihood GERC (GerdQ < 8) were more likely to benefit from OCP (NI analysis: 95% CI, −19.73 to 18.02, p = 0.213). On the other hand, in patients with high-likelihood and low-reflux impact GERC patients (GerdQ > 8 and GIS < 4), the NSP arm was not inferior to the standard treatment of OCP (NI analysis: 95% CI, −8.85 to 28.21%, p = 0.04; superiority analysis: p = 0.339), indicating that GerdQ- and GIS-guided diagnosis and management of patients with GERC could be an alternative to MII-pH management, especially in settings with reduced medical resources. Conclusions: The use of the GerdQ algorithm should be considered when handling patients with GERC in the primary care setting. Trial registration: This research was registered in the Chinese Clinical Trials Registry (ChiCTR-ODT-12001899).

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