Investigation and management of gastro-oesophageal reflux in United Kingdom neonatal intensive care units

Thomas Rossor, Gwendolyn Andradi, Ravindra Bhat

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    In 2004, wide variation in the investigation and management of gastro‐oesophageal reflux (GOR) of infants on UK major neonatal units was demonstrated. Our aim was to resurvey neonatal practitioners to determine current practice and whether it was now evidence based.

    A questionnaire was sent to all 207 UK neonatal units.

    Responses were obtained from 84% of units. The most frequent ‘investigation’ was a trial of therapy (83% of units); pH studies were used in 38%, upper GI contrast studies in 19% and multichannel intraluminal impedance (MII)/pH studies in 5%. Only six units suggested a threshold for an abnormal pH study and two units for an abnormal MII study. Infants were commenced on antireflux medication without investigation always in 32% of units, often in 29%, occasionally in 19% and only never in 1%. Gaviscon was used as first line treatment in 60% of units, and other medications included ranitidine in 53%, thickening agents in 27%, proton pump inhibitors in 23%, domperidone in 22% and erythromycin in 6%.

    There remains a wide variation in diagnostic and treatment strategies for infants with suspected GOR on neonatal intensive care units, emphasising the need for randomised trials to determine appropriate GOR management.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)48-51
    Number of pages4
    JournalActa Paediatrica
    Early online date13 Sept 2017
    Publication statusPublished - Jan 2018


    • Gastro-oesophageal reflux
    • Multichannel intraluminal impedance (MII) study
    • pH study


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