Surgical management of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) in children: A systematic review

Document Type

Review Article


Paediatric Surgery


Objective: The goal of this systematic review by the American Pediatric Surgical Association Outcomes and Evidence-Based Practice Committee was to derive recommendations from the medical literature regarding the surgical treatment of pediatric gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
Methods: Five questions were addressed by searching the MEDLINE, Cochrane, Embase, Central, and National Guideline Clearinghouse databases using relevant search terms. Consensus recommendations were derived for each question based on the best available evidence.
Results: There was insufficient evidence to formulate recommendations for all questions. Fundoplication does not affect the rate of hospitalization for aspiration pneumonia, apnea, or reflux-related symptoms. Fundoplication is effective in reducing all parameters of esophageal acid exposure without altering esophageal motility. Laparoscopic fundoplication may be comparable to open fundoplication with regard to short-term clinical outcomes. Partial fundoplication and complete fundoplication are comparable in effectiveness for subjective control of GERD. Fundoplication may benefit GERD patients with asthma, but may not improve outcomes in patients with neurologic impairment or esophageal atresia. Overall GERD recurrence rates are likely below 20%.
Conclusions: High-quality evidence is lacking regarding the surgical management of GERD in the pediatric population. Definitive conclusions regarding the effectiveness of fundoplication are limited by patient heterogeneity and lack of a standardized outcomes reporting framework.
Type of study: Systematic review of level 1-4 studies.
Level of evidence: Level 1-4 (mainly level 3-4).


This work was published before the author joined Aga Khan University.

Publication (Name of Journal)

Journal of Pediatric Surgery