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March 28, 1977

Childhood Gastroesophageal Reflux: Neurologic and Psychiatric Syndromes Mimicked

JAMA. 1977;237(13):1342-1345. doi:10.1001/jama.1977.03270400046017

Thirteen infants and children with proved gastroesophageal (GE) reflux had complaints that suggested a CNS disorder. Symptoms began in early infancy in ten cases, but accurate diagnosis and proper treatment were not instituted in three cases until three to five years of age. A CNS basis for their disease was suspected because they exhibited specific signs or because the importance of associated gastrointestinal (GI) and respiratory tract symptoms was not appreciated. The presenting CNS symptoms and signs included dystonia in 11, developmental retardation in ten, dysphagia in nine, seizures in six, and extreme irritability in ten. We believe that the diagnosis of symptom-causing GE reflux is being missed regularly. The effects of proper medical or surgical therapy are often dramatic, and the consequences of missed diagnosis or improper treatment are potentially lethal.

(JAMA 237:1342-1345, 1977)