Pre and post-operative ph-metry in videolaparoscopic surgery for gastro oesophageal reflux disease
Di Crescenzo, Rosa Maria
Rubino, Maria Serena
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Gastro-oesophageal reflux is common in children, especially in the first year of life, and it may be regarded as physiological. Good functioning of the lower oesophageal sphincter depends largely on the anatomical relationships between oesophagus, stomach and diaphragm hiatus. Relative immaturity of these structures in newborn babies and young children is a risk factor in reflux disease, which may result in a wide variety of typical and/or atypical symptoms and, sometimes, serious complications such as oesophagitis and stenosis. Reflux disease may be diagnosed and studied, basing on morphological and functional aspects and, since the advent of pH-metry, it is possible to personalise the therapeutic approach to children with reflux. Surgical treatment of reflux disease in children has recently been improved due to a mini-invasive surgical approach. Absolute indications are recurrent pneumonia, intractable pain due to oesophagitis and retarded growth, often in association with neurological impairment. In the last three years, 18 children with reflux disease underwent videolaparoscopic surgery in our department, 14 by the Nissen and 4 by the Toupet technique. Post-operative pH-metry always showed a reduction in exposure of the distal oesophagus to acid (integral of H+) and an improvement in oesophageal clearance (short refluxes percentage) indicative of good functioning of the gastro-oesophageal junction. PH-metry proved to be an invaluable technique for planning therapeutic strategy. In follow-up evaluations, it enabled us to monitor functioning of the gastro-oesophageal junction and to avoid other more difficult and invasive tests in patients with severe neurological impairment.