Purpose: Neurologically impaired children (NIC) often have swallowing difficulties, severe gastroesophageal reflux, recurrent respiratory infections, and malnutrition. Bianchi proposed esophagogastric dissociation (EGD) as an alternative to fundoplication and gastrostomy. The authors compared these 2 approaches. Methods: Twenty-nine consecutive symptomatic NIC refractory to medical therapy were enrolled in a prospective study and divided into 2 groups: A (n = 12), NIC who underwent fundoplication and gastrostomy; B (n = 14), NIC who underwent EGD. Three were excluded because of previous fundoplication. Anthropometric (percentage of the 50th percentile/ age of healthy children) and biochemical parameters, respiratory infections per year, hospitalization (days per year), feeding time (minutes), and "quality of life" (parental psychological questionnaire, range 0 to 60), were analyzed (t test and Mann-Whitney test) preoperatively and 1 year post-operatively. Complications were recorded. Results: Compared with group A, group B presented a statistically significant increase of all anthropometric and nearly all biochemical parameters with a statistical difference in terms of respiratory infections, hospital stay, feeding time, and psychological questionnaire. In group A, 2 bowel obstructions, 1 tight fundoplication, 1 dumping syndrome, and 3 failures of fundoplication occurred. Group B presented 1 anastomotic stricture, 1 paraesophageal hernia, and 1 bowel obstruction. Conclusions: Compared with fundoplication and gastrostomy, EGD offered better nutritional rehabilitation, reduction in respiratory infections, and improved quality of life. EGD can be rightfully chosen as a primary procedure.
- Gastroesophageal reflux
- Neurologically impaired children
- Quality of life
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