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Adv Med Sci. 2008;53(2):293-9. doi: 10.2478/v10039-008-0053-5.

Acid gastroesophageal reflux and intensity of symptoms in children with gastroesophageal reflux disease. Comparison of primary gastroesophageal reflux and gastroesophageal reflux secondary to food allergy.

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III Department of Pediatrics, Medical University of Białystok, Białystok, Poland.


The ability to differentiate between primary and secondary causes of gastroesophageal reflux (GER) is extremely important during the diagnostic procedure. At the same time, the quality of symptoms and the intensity of the course of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) should be estimated. Acid GER is assessed using 24-hour esophageal pH monitoring; the results of this diagnostic test should always be interpreted alongside the clinical picture.


To establish the interdependence between the intensity of the clinical symptoms and the acid reflux index in children with primary GER and GER secondary to cow's milk protein allergy (CMA) and/or other food allergies (FA).


A total of 138 children of various ages with symptoms of GERD were included in the study. The diagnostic procedure included 24-hour pH monitoring of the esophagus with a 2-channel probe (distal and proximal lead). For this purpose, ESPGAN diagnostic criteria were implemented. The type and intensity of typical manifestations of GERD were assessed with the help of our own scoring system. This diagnostic and therapeutic algorithm which includes an oral food challenge test, was applied to 138 children in order to differentiate primary GER from GER secondary to CMA/FA.


Primary GERD was diagnosed in 76 patients (55.1%) with a mean age: x=25.20 months+/-27.28 (group 1) and GERD secondary to CMA/FA was confirmed in 62 children (44.9%) with a mean age: x=21.53 months+/-17.79 (group 2). The most important pH-metric parameter analyzed in study groups 1 and 2 was the GER index: total and supine. An assessment of the intensity of symptoms and a comparative analysis of intensity was evaluated against the GER index: total and supine. Among study group 1, the following gradation of symptoms was found: in 31 children (40.8%)-degree 3, in 33 children (43.4%)-degree 4, and in 12 children (15.8%)-degree 5, whereas among the patients in group 2:25 (40.3%) were in degree 3, 27 (43.6%) were in degree 4, and 10 (16.1%) were in degree 5. It was estimated that the higher the GER result in both total and supine positions (for both leads), the higher the level of symptoms noted. This interdependence was demonstrated for both groups.


In seeking to determine any etiopathogenetic connection between primary GER or GER secondary to CMA/FA and their clinical consequences, 24-hour esophageal pH monitoring with a 2-channel probe is recommended, since it provides for better clinical control of GERD and its appropriate treatment.

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