BLA CONNECTIONS | Series 4,   Episode 2 

Persistent Throat Symptoms

Welcome to the latest episode of BLA Connect, A Clear Voice, where we join host, Natalie Watson and Mr James O’Hara, Clinical Senior Lecturer at Newcastle University and Honorary Consultant Otolaryngologist at Newcastle-upon-Tyne Hospitals, to talk about a topic that is incredibly common in the laryngology clinic – persistent throat symptoms.

James and Natalie discuss the many and varied causes of an irritated larynx and persistent throat symptoms, and the historic low-level of evidence for standard treatments such as proton pump inhibitors. The results of the TOPPITS (Trial of Proton Pump Inhibitors) run by James O’Hara with Prof Janet Wilson showed that these were no more effective than placebo treatment. So where does that leave us? Treatment is moving towards the use of alginates, such as Gaviscon, and James is involved in a new pre-clinical trial, (TALGITS – Trial of Alginates and Throat Symptoms) to look at the effectiveness of these in treating persistent throat symptoms and hopefully improve the management of these symptoms in primary care.

Ultimately, we all want to provide the best care for patients and providing a diagnosis or label for their symptoms can seem a good way of doing this. However, the lack of clear treatment pathway for persistent throat symptoms can lead to unnecessary worry with patients often referred to Head and Neck Cancer clinics. When we do see patients in clinic, James and Natalie emphasise the importance of letting the patient talk, being honest about the lack of evidence-based treatment in this area, considering comorbidities such as fibromyalgia and chronic pain symptoms, and discussing behavioural modifications and strategies for how patients can take ownership of and manage their own symptoms.

The take home message from this episode must be to always question and improve what we do for the patient’s benefit.

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This show is brought to you by the British Laryngological Association and is  hosted by Natalie Watson @surgeonsinger and produced and directed by Heather Pownall of Heather’s Media Hub Ltd.

The opinions of our host and guests are their own; The BLA does not endorse any individual viewpoints, given products or companies.
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