Association Between Voice Handicap Index and Reflux Symptom Index: A cross-sectional study of undiagnosed general and teacher cohorts in Saudi Arabia

Rawan Alanazi, Ahmed Alrahim, Sara Bayounos, Abdulrahman Al-Ghuwainem, Mohammad H. Al-Bar

Abstract


Objectives: This study aimed to assess potential associations between self-reported symptoms of laryngopharyngeal reflux (LPR) and voice disorders among two undiagnosed cohorts in Saudi Arabia. Methods: This cross-sectional study was conducted from February to April 2017 in Khobar, Saudi Arabia. Validated Arabic versions of the Reflux Symptom Index (RSI) and 10-item Voice Handicap Index (VHI-10) were distributed to 400 teachers at 13 schools and 300 members of the general population attending an ear, nose and throat clinic in Khobar. Scores of >13 and >11 on the RSI and VHI-10 indicated a potential subjective diagnosis of LPR and voice disorders, respectively. Results: A total of 446 individuals took part in the study, including 260 members of the general population (response rate: 86.7%) and 186 teachers (response rate: 46.5%). The mean age was 32.5 years. In total, 62.2% complained of voice and/or reflux problems, with the remaining 37.8% not reporting/unaware of any problems in this regard. Among the teachers, 30.6% and 18.3% had positive RSI and VHI-10 scores, respectively, while 43.1% and 14.6% of the individuals from the general population had positive RSI and VHI-10 scores, respectively. Overall, VHI-10 scores were significantly associated with RSI scores (P <0.001). Conclusion: A significant association between RSI and VHI-10 scores suggests that there may be an association between LPR and voice disorders. These tools would therefore be a valuable method of monitoring patients; however, they cannot be used to confirm a diagnosis. Thus, more detailed studies are needed to confirm this association using a larger sample size.


Keywords: Voice Disorders; Laryngopharyngeal Reflux; Hoarseness; Diagnostic Self Evaluation; School Teachers; Saudi Arabia.


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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.18295/squmj.2018.18.03.014

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Sultan Qaboos University Medical Journal, College of Medicine and Health Sciences, Sultan Qaboos University, PO Box 35, Postal Code 123, Al-Khod, Muscat, Oman

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