oa Professional Nursing Today - Gastro-oesphageal reflux disease in infants : paediatrics
Gastro-oesophageal reflux (GOR) is a frequent and common phenomenon in humans, also in normal children and adults. GOR involves the involuntary passage of gastric contents into the oesophagus. Most reflux episodes are physiological and self limiting. Gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD) is reflux associated with mucosal damage or symptoms severe enough to impair quality of life. Clinical presentation varies with age but in infants includes mainly regurgitation, persistent crying, irritability, backarching, feeding and sleeping difficulties. Complications include oesophagitis, bleeding, stenosis and rarely Barrett's oesophagus or adenocarcinoma. There is no 'gold-standard' diagnostic technique available but available modalities include radiography with barium, scintigraphy, endoscopy with biopsies, pH metry and impedance monitoring. A stepwise approach of treatment options available should be used according to the severity of the disease. Proton pump inhibitors remain the treatment of choice in severe gastro-oesophageal reflux disease.
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