Reflux symptoms in 100 normal infants: diagnostic validity of the infant gastroesophageal reflux questionnaire.


To identify the prevalence of reflux symptoms in normal infants, to characterize the diagnostic validity of a previously described 138-item Infant Gastroesophageal Reflux Questionnaire (I-GERQ) for separating normal infants from those with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), and to identify potentially provocative caretaking practices, we administered the questionnaire to 100 infants attending a well-baby clinic (normals) and to 35 infants referred to the Gastroenterology Division for evaluation for GERI) and testing positive on esophageal pH probe or biopsy (GERD infants). Differences were analyzed by Chi-square, and odds ratios were defined. The diagnostic validity of a 25-point I-GERQ GERD score based on 11 items on the questionnaire was evaluated by calculating its sensitivity, specificity, and positive and negative predictive values. We found that normal infants had a high prevalence of reflux symptoms, such as daily regurgitation (40%), respiratory symptoms, crying more than an hour a day (17%), arching (10%), or daily hiccups (36%) but that many symptoms were significantly more prevalent in the GERD than in the normal infants (Chi-square P < .05), and odds ratios were above 3 for nearly 20 items. The positive and negative predictive values for the 25-point I-GERQ score were 1.00 and .94-.98, respectively. Environmental smoke exposure did not quite reach significance as a provocative factor for GERD. Although normal infants have a high prevalence of symptoms suggesting GERD, a simple questionnaire-based score is a valid diagnostic test with high positive and negative predictive values.


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@article{Orenstein1996RefluxSI, title={Reflux symptoms in 100 normal infants: diagnostic validity of the infant gastroesophageal reflux questionnaire.}, author={Susan R. Orenstein and Theresa Shalaby and Jeffrey F. Cohn}, journal={Clinical pediatrics}, year={1996}, volume={35 12}, pages={607-14} }