This cross-sectional observational study aimed to determine the nationwide prevalence of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GORD) in French children and adolescents. Four hundred four general practitioners and 180 paediatricians compiled a register of all children and adolescents (n = 10,394, aged 0 to 17 years, mean 3.8 ± 5.6 years) who presented over two 3-day periods. For all children who, in the physician's opinion, showed symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux (GOR), a 24-item questionnaire covering the history and management of GOR was completed. Children with symptoms that impaired their daily lives were defined as having GORD, the remainder as having physiological GOR. Of the patients, 15.1 % showed GOR symptoms. Extrapolation to the overall French population yielded a prevalence of 10.3 % for GOR and 6.2 % for GORD. There was a significantly (p < 0.05) greater use of volume reduction or milk thickeners and dorsal positioning among infants with GORD versus physiological GOR. Significantly (p < 0.05) more of the infants and children with GORD received pharmacological therapy. The use of proton pump inhibitors increased with age but was significantly (p < 0.05) higher among those with GORD.
Conclusions: Ten percent of French children and adolescents show GOR symptoms and 6 % have GORD. Clinical presentation and treatment vary in different age groups, but those with GORD are more likely to require pharmacological treatment.