Surgical Treatment of Gastroesophageal Reflux in Children: A Combined Hospital Study of 7467 Patients

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During the past 20 years, 7467 children <18 years of age underwent antireflux operations for SGER at the seven participating hospitals. Fifty-six percent were neurologically normal (NN) and 44% were neurologically impaired (NI). The most frequent diagnostic studies were upper gastrointestinal series (68%), esophageal pH monitoring (54%), gastric emptying study (32%), and esophagoscopy (25%). The age at operation was under 12 months in 40% and 1 to 10 years in 48%. The type of fundoplication was Nissen (64%), Thal (34%), and Toupet (1.5%). A gastric emptying procedure was performed on 11.5% of NN patients and 40% of NI patients. Laparoscopic fundoplication was performed on 2.6% of patients.


Good to excellent results were achieved in 95% of NN and 84.6% of NI patients. Major complications occurred in 4.2% of NN and 12.8% of NI patients. The most frequent complications were recurrent reflux attributable to wrap disruption (7.1%), respiratory (4.4%), gas bloat (3.6%), and intestinal obstruction (2.6%). Post-operative death occurred in 0.07% of NN and 0.8% of NI patients. Reoperation was performed in 3.6% of NN and 11.8% of NI patients. The results and complications were similar among the participating hospitals and did not seem related to the type of fundoplication used.


The excellent results (94% cure) and low morbidity with gastroesophageal fundoplication with or without a gastric emptying procedure from a large combined hospital study indicate that operation should be used early for SGER in NN children and to facilitate enteral feedings and care in NI children. Pediatrics 1998; 101:419-422.

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