What are common signs and symptoms of pediatric gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)?

Updated: Mar 14, 2019
  • Author: Steven M Schwarz, MD, FAAP, FACN, AGAF; Chief Editor: Carmen Cuffari, MD  more...
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One must remember that the typical symptoms (eg, heartburn, vomiting, regurgitation) in adults cannot be readily assessed in infants and children. Pediatric patients with gastroesophageal reflux typically cry and report sleep disturbance and decreased appetite. The following are some of the common signs and symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux in infants and young children:

  • Typical or atypical crying and/or irritability

  • Apnea and/or bradycardia

  • Poor appetite

  • Apparent life-threatening event (ALTE)

  • Vomiting

  • Wheezing

  • Abdominal and/or chest pain

  • Stridor

  • Weight loss or poor growth (failure to thrive)

  • Recurrent pneumonitis

  • Sore throat

  • Chronic cough

  • Water brash

  • Sandifer syndrome - Ie, posturing with opisthotonus or torticollis

  • Hoarseness and/or laryngitis

Signs and symptoms in older children include all of the above plus heartburn and a history of vomiting, regurgitation, unhealthy teeth, and halitosis.

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