During an 18 year period, 352 infants and children under 18 years of age underwent surgical treatment for symptomatic gastroesophageal reflux. Delayed gastric emptying was present in more than 50 percent as evidenced by more than 50 percent retention of technetium-99m sulfur colloid in semisolid feedings at 90 minutes. Esophageal motility disorders occurred in over 35 percent of the patients with symptomatic reflux, militating against performing a tight antireflux operation. Of 352 patients who had operation for symptomatic gastroesophageal reflux, 308 underwent gastroesophageal fundoplication alone, 26 underwent gastroesophageal fundoplication and pyloroplasty, 12 had pyloroplasty alone, and 6 had gastroesophageal fundoplication followed by pyloroplasty as a second operation because of residual delay in gastric emptying. An abnormal result of esophageal pH monitoring and decreased lower esophageal sphincter pressure with normal gastric emptying suggest use of the gastroesophageal fundoplication alone. Delay in gastric emptying combined with decreased lower esophageal sphincter pressure and abnormal results of esophageal pH monitoring indicate the use of gastroesophageal fundoplication plus pyloroplasty. A mildly abnormal esophageal pH value in combination with a high-normal lower esophageal sphincter pressure and marked delay in gastric emptying (over 60 percent retention at 90 minutes) suggest the use of pyloroplasty alone. The excellent clinical results achieved with gastroesophageal fundoplication, with or without pyloroplasty, and the low morbidity and mortality rates indicate that these procedures should be used early in the management of infants and children with symptomatic gastroesophageal reflux syndrome.
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