Does gastroesophageal reflux contribute to the development of chronic sinusitis? A review of the evidence

John K. Dibaise, V. K. Sharma

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Although recent studies suggest that gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) may contribute to a variety of ear, nose and throat and pulmonary diseases, the cause-and-effect relationship for the vast majority remains far from proven. In this article, the evidence supporting a possible causal association between GERD and chronic sinusitis has been reviewed. The evidence would suggest that: (i) a higher prevalence of GERD and a different esophagopharyngeal distribution of the gastric refluxate occurs in patients with chronic sinusitis unresponsive to conventional medical and surgical therapy compared to the general population; (ii) a biologically plausible pathogenetic mechanism exists whereby GERD may result in chronic sinusitis; and (iii) clinical manifestations of chronic sinusitis respond variably to antireflux therapy. While these findings suggest that GERD may contribute to the pathogenesis of chronic sinusitis in some patients, it is apparent that the quality of the evidence supporting each of these three lines of evidence is low and therefore does not conclusively establish a cause-and-effect relationship. A number of unresolved issues regarding prevalence, pathophysiological mechanism, diagnosis and treatment exist that deserve further investigation in order to solidify the relationship between GERD and chronic sinusitis. In conclusion, given the possible relationship between GERD and chronic sinusitis, until more convincing data are available, it may be prudent to investigate for GERD as a potential cofactor or initiating factor in patients with chronic sinusitis when no other etiology exists, or in those whose symptoms are unresponsive to conventional therapies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)419-424
Number of pages6
JournalDiseases of the Esophagus
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1 2006


  • Chronic sinusitis
  • Gastroesophageal reflux
  • PH
  • Treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology


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