Food allergy in children with refractory gastroesophageal reflux disease

Pediatr Int. 2016 Apr;58(4):254-8. doi: 10.1111/ped.12779. Epub 2015 Dec 29.


Background: Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and food allergy are frequent disorders of childhood. The purpose of this study was to determine the frequency of food allergy in children with refractory GERD.

Methods: A total of 151 children resistant to pharmacologic GERD treatment underwent skin prick test, specific immunoglobulin E, eosinophil count, atopy patch test (APT), and oral food challenge, and were then divided into three groups according to the results of oral milk challenge and allergy work-up: group A1, positive oral milk challenge and positive IgE-mediated allergy test; group A2, positive milk challenge and negative IgE-mediated allergy test; and group B, negative oral milk challenge and negative allergy tests.

Results: There were 35, 30 and 86 patients in group A1, group A2 and group B, respectively. A total of 28 of 35 patients in group A1 had cow's milk allergy and the other seven patients had egg allergy. APT positivity was more common in group A2. Endoscopic esophagitis was observed in six group A1 patients and in four group A2 patients. Bloody stools, atopic dermatitis and recurrent wheezing episodes were significantly more common in group A1 than in group A2 and group B (P < 0.001, for both).

Conclusion: Cow's milk allergy was observed frequently in children resistant to pharmacologic GERD treatment. Combined skin prick and specific IgE tests, APT and oral food challenge is essential for avoidance of unnecessary elimination diet.

Keywords: children; food allergy; gastroesophageal reflux disease.

MeSH terms

  • Child, Preschool
  • Endoscopy, Gastrointestinal
  • Female
  • Food Hypersensitivity / diagnosis
  • Food Hypersensitivity / epidemiology*
  • Food Hypersensitivity / etiology
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux / complications*
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux / diagnosis
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Patch Tests
  • Turkey / epidemiology