The effects of untreated reflux on the incidence of dysphagia, oral aversion, and feeding difficulty in the NICU population.

Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

International journal of pediatric otorhinolaryngology


OBJECTIVES: To determine whether late-preterm and full-term neonates in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) with diagnosed gastroesophageal reflux (GERD) have an increased incidence of feeding difficulties, dysphagia, and oral aversion. To determine the incidence of reflux medication use in late-preterm and full-term neonates in the NICU.

METHODS: Neonates greater than 34 weeks gestational age (GA) diagnosed with reflux, who were hospitalized for at least five days, were included in the study. Neonates with anatomical anomalies that interfere with feeding are excluded. The control group included neonates greater than 34 weeks GA not diagnosed with reflux. The key outcome variables were subjective ease of feeding, oral aversion, and placement on nasogastric (NG), orogastric (OG), or requirement of total parenteral nutrition (TPN). Statistical analysis was performed using chi-squared and t-test to compare incidence of feeding difficulties between the groups. A p-value

RESULTS: In neonates with a diagnosis of reflux, 42.02% had feeding difficulties (66 patients). In the control group, 30.49% of neonates had feeding difficulties (218 patients). Feeding difficulties in neonates with reflux was 11.55% higher than in the control group (p = 0.001).

CONCLUSION: Late-preterm and full-term neonates diagnosed with reflux have a higher incidence of feeding difficulties than those who did not have reflux. Only 0.86% of neonates diagnosed with reflux were treated with anti-reflux medications at this large tertiary care children's hospital.



First Page






PubMed ID