It is the presence of gastric content over the esophageal opening.
It can go from normal babies that regurgitate to those who show potentially fatal episodes.
It is considered pathological when there is: retarded growth, apnea and breathing pauses, pneumonia of the inhaling type, esophagitis (inflammation of the esophagus) or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.
Most babies under 6 months old present certain degree of gastro-oesophageal reflux, but it must be medically treated if it is associated with significant symptoms.
The diagnosis is made by means of a thorough interrogation and a complete physical examination of the patient.
The pediatrician will request complementary studies if they are needed (radiographs, oesophago-gastroduodenal seriographies) and according to the seriousness of the symptoms he will send the patient to Child Gastroenterology specialist.
The gastroenterologist will assess the posibility of extending the studies (endoscopy, biopsy, scintigraphy and study of the gastric Ph.)
Once the type and seriousness of the reflux have been asserted (light, moderate, severe) the treatment will consist in:
- More frequent rations of food but smaller in quantity.
- Semi-seated position to sleep.
- Thickening of the food.
- If needed, antacids and medicine that accelerates the stomach evacuation, etc.
The pediatrician and specialists will decide upon these things according to the seriousness of the case.
Severe breathing compromise may require surgical treatment.
The parents of a baby having light symptoms, good growth and no breathing problems caused by the reflux, should be calm but must clear up their doubts with the pediatrician.