Pediatric Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease: Systematic Review on Prognosis and Prognostic Factors

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In this systematic review, we summarize the evidence on prognosis and prognostic factors of pediatric gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). A structured search of Embase and MEDLINE/PubMed (inception to April 2016) yielded 5365 references; 4 publications met our inclusion criteria (risk of bias moderate-high). Definitions and outcome measures varied widely between studies. The percentage of children with a diagnosis of GERD with esophagitis that had persisting symptoms and/or were on antireflux medication at follow-up (12 months to >5 years) ranged from 23% (weekly symptoms) to 68% (antireflux medication), depending on definition used. In children with a diagnosis of GERD without esophagitis, 1.4% developed esophagitis at follow-up (>5 years); none developed Barrett esophagus. In conclusion, prognostic studies on pediatric GERD are of limited quality and show large methodological heterogeneity. Based on these studies, we are unable to identify those children at risk for unfavorable outcome with regards to GERD symptoms or endoscopic complications.

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