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J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 2004 Oct;39(4):383-91.

Severe gastroesophageal reflux disease and cow milk hypersensitivity in infants and children: disease association and evaluation of a new challenge procedure.

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Department of Paediatrics, Odense University Hospital and University of Southern Denmark, Odense, Denmark.



Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and cow milk hypersensitivity are frequent disorders of infancy. A possible causative association between these two entities has been suggested.


The primary aim was to elucidate whether a causative relationship between the two entities could be established in a population of infants and children. A secondary aim was to evaluate whether cow milk challenge during esophageal pH monitoring is useful as an objective method to identify this subgroup of patients.


Upper endoscopy followed by a 48-hour esophageal pH monitoring with cow's milk elimination diet at day 1 and challenge at day 2. Cow milk hypersensitivity was later verified by elimination diet and a second open (in patients < 3 years of age) or double-blind placebo-controlled (in patients > or = 3 years of age) challenge. Skin prick test, specific serum immunoglobulin E and skin patch test were used as supplementary procedures. Follow-up endoscopy and pH monitoring were performed after 3 months of treatment (omeprazole versus elimination diet dependent on evidence of food hypersensitivity).


Eighteen of 42 investigated patients had severe GERD, defined as endoscopic esophagitis and/or a reflux index > 10%. Among these patients, a group of 10 patients with GERD and cow milk hypersensitivity was identified. This group had a significantly higher reflux index compared with children with primary GERD. No significant increase was noted in reflux index during simultaneous pH monitoring and milk challenge.


An association between GERD and cow milk hypersensitivity was observed in both infants and children with severe GERD. Simultaneous cow milk challenge and pH monitoring had limited value as a method to identify this subgroup.

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