Acid and weakly acid gastroesophageal refluxes and type of respiratory symptoms in children

Michele Ghezzi, Michela Silvestri, Edoardo Guida, Angela Pistorio, Oliviero Sacco, Girolamo Mattioli, Vincenzo Jasonni, Giovanni A. Rossi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: To evaluate the association between the frequency of acid reflux (AR) and weakly acid reflux (WAR) and specific respiratory symptoms (RS) in childhood. Study design: We retrospectively reviewed medical records of children with difficult-to-treat RS, not under acid suppressive therapy, and with a positive multiple intraluminal esophageal impedance (pH/MII) monitoring. To discriminate children with prevalent AR and WAR events, a ROC curve was designed and the distribution of the different RS in children with prevalent AR or WAR events was analyzed. Results: A higher number of AR over WAR events was detected (p <0.0001) but the WAR-to-AR events ratio progressively decreased with the age of the subjects (p <0.01). Similar total number of reflux events was found in the three age group and in children with a more prevalent WAR or AR. The most prevalent RS, equally distributed among the three age groups, were persistent and/or nocturnal cough, wheezy bronchitis/asthma, and recurrent lower respiratory tract infections (RLRTI). Apnoea was most frequent in infants (p = 0.036). A higher frequency of RLRTI, but not of nocturnal cough or wheezy bronchitis/asthma, was shown in WAR as compared with AR patients (p = 0.040), and specifically those in the school-aged group (p = 0.013). Age and WAR were respectively identified as independent predictors of apnoea and RLRTI (p <0.05). Conclusion: WAR events are common in children with gastroesophageal reflux and difficult-to-treat RS and often associated with RLRTI. These findings support the role of pH/MII monitoring in the evaluation of these patients and may explain the disappointing clinical results often observed with anti-acid treatments.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)972-978
Number of pages7
JournalRespiratory Medicine
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2011


  • Apnoea
  • Asthma
  • Multichannel intraluminal impedance
  • Respiratory manifestations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


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