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Sonographic measurement of abdominal esophageal length as a diagnostic tool in gastroesophageal reflux disease in infants

Keywords: Abdominal esophagus length , barium meal , GERD , sonography

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Abstract:

Background/Aim: This study was conducted to provide sonographic measurements of the abdominal esophagus length in neonates and infants with and without gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and to investigate its diagnostic value. GERD severity was also evaluated and correlated with esophageal length. It is a prospective case-control study. Materials and Methods: This prospective case-control study comprised 235 neonates and infants (120 without reflux and 115 with reflux). There were 40 children without reflux in each of three age categories: less than 1 month, 1-6 months, and 6-12 months. Of the children with reflux, 40 were less than 1 month old; 37, 1-6 months; and 38, 6-12 months. The abdominal esophagus was measured from its entrance into the diaphragm to the base of gastric folds in fed infants. GERD was sonographically diagnosed and confirmed by a barium meal. The number of refluxes during a 10-min period were recorded. Results: Neonates and infants with reflux had a significantly shorter abdominal esophagus than subjects without reflux: the mean difference in neonates, 4.65 mm; 1-6 months, 4.57 mm; 6-12 months, 3.61 mm. Conclusions: Children with severe reflux had a shorter esophagus compared with those with mild and moderate reflux only in the neonate group. Therefore, thinking of GERD and carefully looking for its symptoms is necessary to avoid unnecessary utilization of healthcare resources in children with severe reflux.

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