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J Pediatr Surg. 1998 Nov;33(11):1623-7.

Persistent gastroesophageal reflux disease after antireflux surgery in children: I. immediate postoperative evaluation using extended esophageal pH monitoring.

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Department of Surgery, Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center, University Medical Center of Southern Nevada, and the University of Nevada School of Medicine, Las Vegas, USA.



There is a paucity of quantitative and reproducible follow-up data on childhood operations for gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). With the development of minimally invasive techniques for antireflux operations in children, there is a need to quantitatively determine immediate outcomes for such operations performed by laparotomy for comparison.


A retrospective review of 385 children (age range, 1 week to 15 years) who had a primary antireflux operation in a Children's or University Hospital performed by laparotomy between 1983 and 1997, and who also had an extended esophageal pH study performed within the first 12 postoperative weeks, was conducted. The operations performed included Nissen fundoplication (n = 135), Thal fundoplication (n = 195), and Boerema gastropexy (n = 55). An immediate postoperative failure of the operation to control GERD was defined as an abnormal esophageal pH score persisting up to the twelfth postoperative week.


Eleven patients (2.9%) were classified as having an immediate postoperative failure of their operation to control GERD. An additional three patients had an abnormal esophageal pH score 2 weeks postoperatively, which subsequently reverted to a normal esophageal pH score by 12 weeks. The immediate postoperative failure rate was 1.5% (2 of 135) for the Nissen fundoplication, 1.5% (3 of 195) for the Thal fundoplication, and 10.9% (6 of 55) for the Boerema gastropexy. A higher failure rate (five patients, 36%) was seen for the first 14 patients who underwent a Boerema gastropexy during the learning curve period for this operation before 1985, and by excluding these patients the failure rate was 2.4% (1 of 41) after 1985. There was no significantly increased probability of immediate postoperative failure in patients with central nervous system disorders, prematurity, repaired esophageal atresia, or gastric emptying abnormalities. Only 5 (36%) of the 14 children with persisting symptoms suggestive of GERD had immediate postoperative failure of their operation.


Extended esophageal pH monitoring during the first 12 postoperative weeks is a helpful tool to assess the immediate outcome of antireflux operations in children because clinical symptoms alone may be unreliable. The immediate failure rate for an antireflux operation performed in children by laparotomy is very low and seems to be unaffected by comorbid factors.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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