Behaviors Associated With Onset of Gastroesophageal Reflux Episodes in Infants: Prospective Study Using Split-Screen Video and pH Probe

A. P. Feranchak, S. R. Orenstein, J. F. Cohn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

52 Scopus citations


To identify behaviors associated with the onset of gastroesophageal reflux episodes in infants both systematically and prospectively, each of 10 patients (aged 2 to 32 weeks) was studied during 2 hours of intraluminal esophageal pH probe monitoring, using a split-screen audiovisual recording technique. Videotape analysis of eight infants who had scoreable reflux events revealed six discrete behaviors closely associated temporally (P<.001 to <.05) with the onset of reflux events: “discomfort” (crying or frowning), “emission” (of liquid or gas, i.e., regurgitation, drooling, or burping), yawning, stridor, stretching, and mouthing. Three behaviors (hiccuping, sneezing, and thumb-sucking) were infrequent but were significantly associated with onset of reflux events in one or two patients each. A tenth behavior, coughing or gagging, was significantly associated with onset of reflux events in two patients, but not in the rest, despite relatively frequent occurrence. Exploration of temporal relations between reflux and each behavior suggested that discomfort, emission, mouthing, and cough-gag may have caused reflux episodes, and that all 10 of the behaviors may have been caused by reflux episodes. These findings and a “quiet period” immediately preceding episodes in six of the infants suggest interesting pathophysiologic mechanisms in infants which require further evaluation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)654-662
Number of pages9
JournalClinical Pediatrics
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1994


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health

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