Objective: To evaluate for adverse outcomes associated with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) following an apparent life-threatening event (ALTE) and potential risk factors of these outcomes.
Study design: Retrospective cohort study of well-appearing infants (<12 months) admitted for ALTE. Patients were followed for adverse outcomes associated with GERD (including aspiration pneumonia, failure-to-thrive, or anti-reflux surgery), second ALTE, or death. Risk factors evaluated included: age, prematurity, gender, previous event, diagnosis of GERD, gastrointestinal (GI) testing positive for gastroesophageal reflux, length of stay (LOS), and neurologic impairment diagnosed in follow-up.
Results: Four hundred sixty-nine patients met inclusion criteria, mean age was 45 days, 110 (22%) were premature. Patients were followed for an average of 7.8 years; 3.8% of all patients had an adverse outcome associated with GERD. The only significant risk factors were a longer LOS, and development of neurological impairment. A diagnosis of GERD and positive reflux testing during the initial hospitalization were not associated with adverse outcomes associated with GERD.
Conclusions: Adverse outcomes associated with GERD are rare following an ALTE. Patients who developed neurological impairment and a longer initial LOS were at higher risk for developing these outcomes. Positive testing for gastroesophageal reflux during hospitalization for ALTE did not predict adverse outcomes associated with GERD.
Copyright © 2012 Society of Hospital Medicine.