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Surgery. 1989 Apr;105(4):457-64.

Late results of fundoplication for gastroesophageal reflux in infants and children.

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Department of Surgery, Mott Children's Hospital, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-0245.


The Nissen fundoplication (NFP) for the management of severe gastroesophageal reflux (GER) in infants and children has become one of the most frequently performed operations in pediatric surgical centers in the United States. Short-term outcome, morbidity, and mortality are consistently favorable in several large series. The long-term success of this procedure is presumed but has not been established objectively. To examine the late results of this operation, 46 infants and children were carefully evaluated more than 5 years after NFP (mean, 6.7 years). Evaluation included parental interview, physical examination, upper gastrointestinal series, and esophageal pH monitoring. The mean age at the time of operation was 4.13 years. Fifty-seven percent of the patients had significant neurologic impairment, and 80% had at least one serious additional medical problem. Twenty-four percent of the children died during the period of follow-up--all but one death related to serious underlying medical problems. Of the 35 survivors, 26 (74.3%) have no symptoms; five (14.3%) have mild symptoms potentially referable to GER that necessitate little if any treatment; four (11.5%) have had symptomatic recurrence of GER necessitating repeat fundoplication. Three of these patients now have no symptoms. Forty-five percent of the patients had at least one postoperative complication. NFP provides efficacious, long-term treatment of GER in infants and children, with acceptable morbidity. Mortality in this group of children is related primarily to associated diseases rather than to GER.

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