Gastroesophageal reflux disease in children older than two years of age.
Tolaymat N. Chapman DM.
Department of Pediatrics, Robert C. Byrd Health Sciences Center, West Virginia University, Charleston, USA.
Since there are few studies examining gastroesophageal reflux (GER) in healthy children beyond infancy, we report our experiences treating children older than two with this condition. GER was diagnosed by either an abnormal extended intraesophageal pH monitoring (pH study) or presence of histological esophagitis. Thirty-seven patients met the criteria, ages 3 to 19 years (mean 11) and 68% were males. Common symptoms were vomiting, abdominal or chest pain, heartburn and regurgitation. Mean duration of symptoms was 28.7 months, and six patients had severe esophagitis, and one had Barrett's esophagus. Patients with severe esophagitis were older and had strongly positive pH study parameters compared to the rest of patients (p < 0.05). All patients were treated with prokinetic and acid reducing agents for 8 to 12 weeks. Sixty-two percent responded to initial course and remained asymptomatic during the follow-up period. Nissen fundoplication was recommended to five patients (13.5% of study population) because of refractory GER. Four of these patients who required surgery had severe esophagitis. In summary, GER in normal older children is a chronic disease with potentially severe complications. All patients should be evaluated by pH study and endoscopic esophageal biopsies, and have careful follow up.