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Cardiaplication: a novel surgical technique for refractory gastroesophageal reflux in the pediatric population.

INTRODUCTION: We encountered 3 patients with severe gastroesophageal reflux disease and tubular stomachs precluding fundoplication. Here, we report the use of an innovative technique, cardiaplication, as an alternative approach for antireflux surgery.

METHODS: Three infants with medically refractory gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) were referred for fundoplication. In each case, the patient's anatomy prevented a traditional fundoplication from being performed. A cardiaplication was performed by invaginating the cardia of the stomach at the angle of His and securing the invaginated tissue with interrupted silk suture. The plication tubularized the cardia of the stomach, essentially increasing the intra-abdominal portion of the esophagus and altering the angle of His. The imbrication also creates a flapper valve over the distal esophagus, further limiting potential reflux. The charts for the infants who received cardiaplication were reviewed. Radiographic studies and clinical notes for the presence of persistent reflux were evaluated.

RESULTS: Cardiaplication was completed in 3 patients with GERD. All cases were initiated laparoscopically and one was converted to an open procedure secondary to dense adhesive disease. Each child was initiated on feeds between postoperative day 2 and 3. Two of the 3 patients were tolerating goal feeds with-in 2 days. The third patient reached goal feeds on day 16. Postoperative imaging (upper gastrointestinal series [UGI]) was obtained in 2 of the 3 patients. At follow-up (13, 7, and 4 months), all 3 patients are clinically free of symptoms of GERD. Delayed radiographic imaging has confirmed that the patients are no longer refluxing.

CONCLUSION: Based on preliminary findings, cardiaplication appears to be a safe and effective surgical technique for the management of severe GERD in infants. We performed cardiaplication out of necessity; however, after further testing this may prove to be an optimal approach, as it can be performed without disruption of the hiatus.

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