Objective: Gastroesophageal reflux (GER) is a relatively common disorder in infants and children. It maybe associated with severe complications. The coexistence of GER and a wide range of respiratory symptoms has been reported. The purpose of our study was to investigate the relationship between chronic respiratory symptoms and GERD as an underlying cause. To our knowledge, there is not a method known study for identifying this relationship and prevalence in our area.
Methods: The study group consists of fifty-two (4 months-10 years) children who were referred to pediatric surgery ward for evaluation of GERD as a cause of chronic respiratory symptoms by 24 hours PH monitoring. Additionally, 10 patients with only one episode of pneumonia were evaluated as the control group. Chronic respiratory presentations include the following: chronic cough, recurrent pneumonia, asthma, and respiratory distress.
Results: 24 hour esophageal PH monitoring revealed GER in 22 (42.2%) patients as a cause of their chronic respiratory symptoms, while (30 (57.7%) children did not show any evidence of GER. GER was detected in 11 of 24 (45.7%) patients with chronic cough. Thirty-three patients presented with recurrent pneumonia, 13 (39.9%) of whom had GER. In 8 patients with asthma, GER was found in 4 cases. None of the 6 patients with respiratory distress had GERD.
Conclusion: The possibility of GERD was significantly higher in study group (children with chronic respiratory symptoms) compared to control group (p-value<0.01). All patients with chronic cough, recurrent pneumonia and asthma should be aggressively investigated for the possibility of GER. Documenting abnormal gastroesophageal reflux helps direct appropriate therapy before occurrence of major complications.