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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Nissen fundoplication in children with profound neurologic disability. High risks and unmet goals.

Anti-reflux procedures have been advocated in children with profound neurologic disability referred for feeding gastrostomy when gastroesophageal reflux is present. Facilitation of care, reduction in pneumonia and vomiting, and improvement in the general health and survival of these children have been major goals of fundoplication and gastrostomy. In large pediatric series, these procedures have been reported to have low risk and negligible mortality rates. Recent reports, however, document an increased incidence of sequelae of fundoplication in children with profound neurologic disability. This paper retrospectively reviews a series of 35 nonverbal, nonambulatory pediatric patients undergoing a total of 39 fundoplications (37 Nissen, 1 Thal, and 1 Belsey) over an 11-year period. Neurologic impairment of 17 (49%) patients was acquired, 13 (37%) congenital, and 5 (14%) due to a syndrome. Perioperative complications occurred in six (17%). Three additional complications led to early postoperative death. A fourth early death was unexplained. Fourteen (40%) had recurrent pneumonia, 11 (31%) recurrent vomiting, 8 (23%) choking-gagging-retching complex, and 3 (9%) bowel obstruction requiring laparotomy. Recurrent gastroesophageal reflux was documented in seven (20%) patients. A second ARP was performed in six (17%). There were 14 (40%) late deaths. Although the major goals of anti-reflux procedure are clearly achieved in many severely impaired children with gastroesophageal reflux, the use of Nissen fundoplication to resolve the complications of swallowing disorders and improve outcome with an acceptably low risk in this complex set of patients does not appear to be established.[1]


  1. Nissen fundoplication in children with profound neurologic disability. High risks and unmet goals. Smith, C.D., Othersen, H.B., Gogan, N.J., Walker, J.D. Ann. Surg. (1992) [Pubmed]
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