Evaluating the yield of gastrointestinal testing in pediatric patients in aerodigestive clinic

Pediatr Pulmonol. 2018 Nov;53(11):1517-1524. doi: 10.1002/ppul.24170. Epub 2018 Oct 4.


Objective: To improve understanding of the interrelatedness of airway and esophageal diagnoses by evaluating the yield of procedural and radiographic testing of the gastrointestinal tract in children with airway conditions by their referring diagnoses in a pediatric aerodigestive clinic.

Methods: A retrospective chart review of all 325 patients seen in the aerodigestive program from 2010 to 2013 was performed in a single academic medical center. Demographics and results from esophagogastroduodenoscopies with biopsies (EGD), upper gastrointestinal fluoroscopy studies (UGI), and pH multichannel intraluminal impedance probe (pH-MII) performed within 30 days of the clinic visit were evaluated according to presenting diagnoses.

Results: Mean patient age was 3.15 years (range 0.15-24 years) and 41.2% were born premature. 189/325 (58.1%) were on acid suppression. A total of 295 EGD, 193 pH-MII, and 54 UGI were performed. The most common diagnosis with an abnormal pH-MII was asthma. The most common diagnoses with an abnormal EGD were feeding difficulty and tracheal esophageal fistula/ esophageal atresia (TEF/EA). EGDs were normal in 188/295 (63.7%), while 39/295 (13.2%) demonstrated esophagitis, and 22/295 (7.5%) had >15 esophageal eosinophils per high power field. The majority of pH-MII (144/193 [74.6%]) and UGI (47/54 [87%]) were normal.

Conclusions: Children with feeding difficulty, TEF/EA, and asthma were the mostly likely to have a histologic abnormality on EGD or an abnormal pH-MII. The majority of children were previously prescribed acid suppression medication and had a referring diagnosis of gastroesophageal reflux disease but were subsequently found to have normal evaluation. Prospective studies are needed to optimize care of this population.

Keywords: asthma; cough; gastroesophageal reflux; imaging; tracheoesophageal fistula.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Ambulatory Care Facilities
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Electric Impedance
  • Esophageal pH Monitoring
  • Female
  • Gastrointestinal Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Prospective Studies
  • Respiration Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Trachea
  • Young Adult