The role of allergy in the etiology of Reinke's edema on vocal folds
AIM: To identify the role of allergy in the occurrence of Reinke's edema on vocal folds.
METHODS: This was a prospective study in patients with Reinke's edema on vocal folds (n = 80) and a control group of patients without Reinke's edema (n = 80). All the patients were examined by the same ENT specialist at an ENT outpatient center in the period 2001–2003. The control group comprised 80 successive patients from the same clinic who were willing to cooperate in the study and were not already being treated for allergic disease by any specialist other than an ENT specialist. Patients from both groups were examined by rigid laryngoscope, skin prick allergic testing (type I allergy) and laboratory determination of serum thyroid-stimulating hormone level.
RESULTS: The prevalence of allergy was not significantly different between the two groups: 20.0% in the patients with Reinke's edema and 23.8% in the control group (P = 0.576). No significant difference was detected in the prevalence of allergy when comparing patients with recurrent Reinke's edema after previous surgical treatment (n = 10) with patients with a first occurrence (n = 70) (P = 1.000). However, we found significantly more type I allergy in the patients with Reinke's edema and chronic hyperplastic rhinitis than in the patients with Reinke's edema without chronic hyperplastic rhinitis. All other risk factors (reflux of gastric content to the larynx, vocal abuse or misuse, unfavorable microclimate conditions at work, thyroid diseases) appeared significantly more often in the group with Reinke's edema on vocal folds than in the control group.
CONCLUSIONS: Type I allergy is not a crucial factor in the pathogenesis of Reinke's edema on vocal folds or in recurrence of the disease after surgical treatment.