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Original Article
November 2004

Lack of Association Between Esophageal Biopsy, Bronchoalveolar Lavage, and Endoscopy Findings in Hoarse Children

Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2004;130(11):1293-1297. doi:10.1001/archotol.130.11.1293

Objective  To determine the prevalence of esophagitis (based on esophageal biopsy results) and aspiration (based on bronchoalveolar lavage [BAL]) in children with hoarseness.

Design  Retrospective medical chart review spanning 24 months of 127 consecutive children (mean age, 6.9 years; range, 1.8-17 years) who presented with hoarseness to 2 attending otolaryngologists.

Setting  Tertiary care children’s hospital.

Intervention  All subjects underwent direct laryngoscopy, rigid bronchoscopy with BAL, and rigid or flexible esophagoscopy with biopsy.

Main Outcome Measures  The BAL result was considered positive if the number of lipid-laden macrophages was “moderate” or “large,” and the esophageal biopsy result was considered positive if any 2 of the following 3 histologic criteria were present: basal cell hyperplasia, increased papillary height, and intraepithelial inflammatory infiltrate. Comparisons between subjective endoscopic findings and objective test results were made using the t test and contingency table analysis, where appropriate.

Results  Of the 127 children, 104 (82%) had vocal nodules; 53 (43%) had endoscopically visualized laryngitis; 36 (28%) had tracheobronchial inflammatory changes; 60 (47%) had abnormal esophagoscopy findings; 47 (37%) had a positive BAL result; and 38 (30%) had a positive esophageal biopsy result. There was no significant correlation between BAL and esophageal biopsy results (P = .11). The odds of having positive BAL or esophageal biopsy results were unaffected by the presence of vocal nodules; endoscopically visualized inflammation of the larynx, trachea, or esophagus; or symptoms or previous clinical history of gastroesophageal reflux disease.

Conclusion  Positive esophageal biopsy and BAL results are prevalent among children with hoarseness, regardless of subjective upper aerodigestive tract endoscopic findings.