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Sulaeman E. Udall JN Jr. Brown RF. Mannick EE. Loe WA. Hill CB. Schmidt-Sommerfeld E.
Louisiana State University Medical Center, Department of Pediatrics, New Orleans 70112-2822, USA.
BACKGROUND: Abnormal gastroesophageal reflux after percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy is a serious problem in neurologically impaired children. Protective fundoplication has been advocated. Whether esophageal pH monitoring before percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy will predict later problems with gastroesophageal reflux is unclear. METHODS: Eighty-five mostly neurologically impaired pediatric patients who underwent percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy were studied retrospectively regarding complications, success of nutritional rehabilitation, and the incidence of pathologic gastroesophageal reflux. Follow-up period was 1 to 4 years. Twenty-four-hour esophageal pH monitoring was performed in 46 patients before percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy. RESULTS: There were no deaths. Two major complications occurred that required surgical intervention, and 14 minor complications occurred related to the procedure. Z-scores for weight increased significantly after percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy. pH probe results were normal in 22 patients (group 1). Five required medical treatment for gastroesophageal reflux after percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy, but only 1 (5%) later required Nissen fundoplication. pH probe results were abnormal in 24 patients (group 2). Nineteen required medical therapy for gastroesophageal reflux, and 7 (29%) later needed fundoplication (p < 0.05, incidence of fundoplication group 1 vs. group 2). Improvement in Z-scores was similar in patients requiring and not requiring fundoplication. CONCLUSIONS: Percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy is a safe and effective technique for long-term nutritional support in children. Abnormal gastroesophageal reflux is common. Normal findings in an esophageal pH study before percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy may be predictive of a favorable outcome with respect to gastroesophageal reflux. This is in contrast to patients with abnormal results in pH studies before percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy of whom a relatively large percentage may later require fundoplication. Improved nutritional status after percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy does not appear to have an impact on the severity of gastroesophageal reflux.