The effectiveness of Nissen fundoplication in neurologically impaired children with gastroesophageal reflux

D. W. Vane, R. P. Harmel, D. R. King, E. T. Boles

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

54 Scopus citations


Fifty-seven of 101 Nissen fundoplications during the 4-year period, July 1979 to July 1983, were performed on neurologically impaired children. Mean age at the time of surgery was 5.9 years (range 1 month to 22 years). Indications for operation included: persistent vomiting, 57 patients (100%); failure to thrive, 49 patients (86%); repeated episodes of pneumonia, 49 patients (86%); esophagitis, 18 patients (32%); hiatal hernia, 14 patients (25%); episodes of apnea, 10 patients (18%); and esophageal stricture, six patients (10%). Forty-six of the 57 patients had previously failed a standard trial of nonsurgical management. Gastroesophageal reflux was documented by barium esophagograms in 51/56 patients (91%), chalasia scans in 28/32 patients (88%), esophagitis or stricture at endoscopy in 21/23 patients (91%), and acid reflux on pH monitoring in 13/16 patients (80%). Operative management included gastrostomy in 55 of the 57 patients and this was permanent in 50. Gastrostomies had previously been performed in nine patients but had failed to provide a reliable method of enteral feeding because of chronic reflux and aspiration. The surgical complication rate was 12%. Intraoperative esophageal perforation occurred in two patients, splenic tear in one, hepatic vein laceration in one, and a tight wrap in one. After surgery, bowel obstruction from adhesions developed in one patient and a midgut volvulus in another. Five of the children have died, none from causes related to the surgical procedure. Clinical and radiologic follow-up evaluations of all survivors have been done, with a mean follow-up of 3 years. In four patients the repair was felt to be inadequate. One patient had an esophageal stricture and three had recurring periods of pneumonia. Three children showed radiologic evidence of persistent reflux, but only two were symptomatic. Two patients required a second antireflux procedure for reflux and are now free of symptoms. Nissen fundoplication appears to be a safe and beneficial procedure in neurological impaired children. Long-term follow-up evaluation of these patients showed satisfactory growth as well as a significant decrease in pulmonary disease associated with aspiration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)662-667
Number of pages6
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1985
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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