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Pediatric gastroesophageal reflux disease--current perspectives.

PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Although heartburn and regurgitation are common manifestations of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), otolaryngologic or respiratory symptoms may be the only indication of GERD. This review focuses on the recent developments in the pathophysiology, diagnosis, and treatment of GERD and their implications in pediatrics.

RECENT FINDINGS: Newer diagnostic modalities include intraesophageal impedance and Bravo wireless pH monitoring. Impedance technology measures both acid and non-acid reflux, whereas the Bravo capsule allows prolonged pH monitoring under more physiologic conditions. In managing children with GERD, there is increasing evidence that they need higher dosages of acid suppressive therapy to achieve clinical response. Alternative therapeutic options are also currently being explored, including pharmacotherapy that targets the primary mechanism for GERD. Endoluminal therapy for GERD in adults as an alternative to surgery has been an exciting development. At present, two of these procedures, Stretta (using radiofrequency energy) and Endocinch (gastroplication), have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for use in adults.

SUMMARY: Impedance technology has increased our understanding of acid and nonacid reflux; however, normal values for children are not yet established. There are also limitations to the applicability of the new endoluminal therapies in children. Further research is needed before these developments can be recommended for use in pediatric practice.

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