Management of paediatric GERD

Nature Reviews Gastroenterology & Hepatology


Paediatric GERD is complicated to manage, as symptoms are diverse and often difficult to interpret. In infants, regurgitation is a common physiological condition. Nevertheless, when it occurs frequently (>4 times per day) and causes the infant distress, parents often seek medical help. In children 2–10 years of age, GERD is often considered to cause extra-oesophageal symptoms, despite the absence of hard evidence. Diagnostic investigations often lack solid validation and the signs and symptoms of GERD overlap with those of cow’s milk protein allergy and eosinophillic oesophagitis. Reassurance, dietary treatment and positional adaptations are recommended for troublesome infant reflux. Anti-acid medication, mainly PPIs, is over-used in infants even though, in many children, reflux is not an acid-related condition. Moreover, evidence is increasing that PPIs cause adverse events such as gastroenteritis and respiratory tract infections. Management in children older than 10 years is similar to that in adults. Using prokinetics to treat nonerosive reflux disease remains only a promising theoretical concept, as no such molecule is currently available. Today, the adverse effects of each prokinetic molecule largely outweigh its potential benefit. Laparoscopic surgery is indicated in children who have life-threatening symptoms or in cases of drug dependence.

Vandenplas, Yvan eng Review England Nat Rev Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2014 Mar;11(3):147-57. doi: 10.1038/nrgastro.2013.199. Epub 2013 Oct 15.