["Silent" gastroesophageal reflux and upper airway pathologies in childhood]

Acta Otorhinolaryngol Ital. 1996 Oct;16(5):407-11.
[Article in Italian]


In children, gastroesophageal reflux (GER) plays an important role in both acute and chronic upper airway disorders including stridor, chronic cough, recurrent upper respiratory infections, obstructive apnea, laryngospasm, and wheezing. Diagnosis may prove difficult unless there is reason to suspect GER and one is aware of the concept of "silent" GER. This paper presents our experience with chronic and/or recurrent respiratory disorders of uncertain origin and without gastrointestinal symptoms in children. Thirty-two pediatric patients with upper respiratory symptoms were evaluated. Out-patient 24-hour intraesophageal pH was monitored and 56% of the patients underwent pharyngo-laryngeal fibroscopy. The patients were divided into two subgroups: Group A (18 patients < 6 months of age) and Group B (14 patients > 6 months). All the patients tested positive for GER with a mean Reflux Index of 21.5. The most common symptoms in Group A were apnea-cianosis and stridor while they were chronic cough for group B. The present study confirms the association between GER and respiratory disease and between GER respiratory-related symptoms and patient age. Emphasis is placed on the importance of otolaryngological diagnostic procedures and 24-hour pH-gastroesophageal monitoring in evaluating patients with respiratory disorders related to silent GER.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • English Abstract

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux / complications
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux / diagnosis*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Respiration Disorders / complications
  • Retrospective Studies