Gastroesophageal reflux is a common cause of chronic pulmonary disease in children. Forty-two children with recurrent pneumonia or severe asthma were evaluated and shown to have significant reflux. Esophagography and esophageal pH testing proved the best diagnostic tests for determining reflux. Although the pulmonary symptoms were often due to repeated aspiration, they appeared in several cases to be related to bronchospasm caused by acid in the upper esophagus. All of the children underwent Nissen fundoplication and gastrostomy an average of 30 months after the onset of pulmonary symptoms. Of the children who had preoperative pneumonia, 87 percent had no recurrence after operation. In 13 of the 14 asthmatic children who underwent operation, symptoms improved and less bronchodilator medication was required. Morbidity and mortality were closely related to the duration and severity of pulmonary disease.
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