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Pediatr Surg Int. 2006 Jun;22(6):485-90. Epub 2006 Apr 29.

Does epilepsy influence the outcome of antireflux procedures in neurologically impaired children?

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  • 1Department of Pediatric Surgery, University of Graz, Medical School, Auenbruggerplatz 34, 8036, Graz, Austria.


In neurologically impaired patients (NIP), surgical management of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) has become a widespread standard. Several follow-up studies have shown a high incidence of complications and recurrent reflux. As one of the possible causes epilepsy is mentioned repeatedly in the literature. The aim of this study was to determine the effective impact of epilepsy on the postoperative outcome by comparing results of our patients suffering from epilepsy to those without this disorder. From 1984 to 1999, a total of 45 NIP underwent antireflux surgery, including 20 patients suffering from epilepsy (EP) and 25 patients without this disorder (nEP). The existence of epileptic disorders, incidence of epileptic seizures and administration of anticonvulsatory drugs as well as results of diagnostic procedures, postoperative complications and incidence and time of recurrence of pathologic GER were recorded and analysed retrospectively. Preoperatively all patients had pathologic results in 24 h pH-monitoring. Median RI was 15.75 (EP, range 5.2-28.6) and 17.55 (nEP; range 7.2-26.5). 12-months-postoperative 24 h pH-monitoring showed a median RI of 3.8 (EP; range 1.3-25.6) versus a median RI of 3.3 (nEP; range 0.7-26.3). During the long-term follow-up evaluation of 3.9 years, 17 EP suffered from persistent epileptic seizures despite medical treatment. 19 patients (42%) developed recurrent reflux. This included seven EP (35%) and 12 nEP (48%). The necessity of reoperation was higher in nEP (n = 5, 20%) than in EP (n = 1, 5%). This analysis did not show a significant correlation between recurrence of pathologic GER after fundoplication and the incidence of epileptic seizures. We consider our findings to strongly question the widespread opinion considering this correlation. We conclude, that cerebral seizures alone do not alter the operative outcome of antireflux surgery in NIP.

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