Journal Article
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A combined hospital experience with fundoplication and gastric emptying procedure for gastroesophageal reflux in children.

BACKGROUND: Operative treatment of symptomatic gastroesophageal reflux (GER), often together with neurologic feeding disorders, is very common in infancy and childhood. Delayed gastric emptying (DGE) has been observed frequently in association with GER in children.

STUDY DESIGN: A retrospective review was performed on 1,200 consecutive patients 18 years of age and younger operated upon for symptomatic GER or neurologic feeding disorders, or both, at two pediatric surgery centers in widely separated geographic areas in the United States of America, to compare the results after fundoplication with or without a gastric emptying procedure (GEP).

RESULTS: Operations included gastroesophageal fundoplication (GEF) alone (871 patients), GEF plus GEP (286 patients), reoperative GEF plus GEP (30 patients), and GEP alone (13 patients). Thus, 27 percent of the total and 40 percent of the last 494 children with reflux had a GEP. Delayed gastric emptying with retention of more than 60 percent of an isotope meal appropriate for age at 90 minutes was present in 241 of the 451 children with reflux studied. Major neurologic disorders were present in 219 (25 percent) of 871 children who underwent GEF alone and in 247 (75 percent) of 329 children who had a GEP. All patients operated upon from both hospitals were relieved of recurrent emesis, and those with failure to thrive showed significant weight gain; pulmonary symptoms were relieved in 94 percent. Recurrent GER developed in 47 (5.2 percent) of 901 children who had GEF alone, but in only four (1.2 percent) of 329 patients who had a GEP.

CONCLUSIONS: The excellent clinical results with low morbidity in this largest reported clinical experience with GEP in childhood suggest that a GEP should be combined with GEF for symptomatic children who have both GER and DGE. Minimal investigative studies are necessary for most neurologically impaired children who require a feeding gastrostomy.

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