The results of daily monitoring of salivary pepsin levels in young children with regurgitation syndrome




regurgitation, GER, GERD, pepsin, children


Regurgitation syndrome in infants is one of the manifestations of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GER), which can be both an age-related physiological condition and pathological one with the risk of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) developing. Differential diagnosis of GERD in infants and young children is difficult due to invasiveness and low availability of the recommended diagnostic methods, in particular esophageal pH3metry. Today, the search for new non-invasive and simple, but sensitive and specific, methods for diagnosing GERD in pediatric practice is relevant and promising.

Purpose — to determine the dynamic patterns of the salivary pepsin level in young children within the framework of daily monitoring and depending on the clinical manifestations of regurgitation.

Materials and methods. 55 children from 3 to 18 months were examined, among them was 38 children with visible regurgitation syndrome and 17 healthy children without clinical manifestations of the regurgitation syndrome. The intensity of regurgitation was assessed using a five-point scale «ESPGHAN». A reflux questionnaire was used for screening diagnostics of pathological GER in children. Salivary pepsin level was determined three times a day by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA pepsin). Statistical processing was performed using «Statistica v.6.1» software package.

Results. Regurgitation syndrome was registered in all children of the main group according to their current complaints. The results of reflux questionnaire showed the following data: half of the children (52.6%) had no signs of GER, possible reflux was revealed in 31.6% of children, and probable reflux was revealed in 15.8% of children. The results of daily monitoring of salivary pepsin level in infants showed that it was significantly higher in children with regurgitation than in control group, both in terms of average daily values and intermediate values. It was found that the maximum pepsin activity in children was immediately after regurgitation. There were no significant differences between the three saliva samples and the average daily pepsin index in the children of the main group, which may indicate the presence of latent episodes of reflux during the day. Сhildren with a high risk of GERD according to the reflux questionnaire had significantly higher values of salivary pepsin on an empty stomach and its average daily level, which has sufficient specificity and predictive value according to the ROC analysis results.

Conclusions. Determination of salivary pepsin levels in infants can be included in screening noninvasive tests for the GER diagnosis. The use of these tests to predict the risk of extraesophageal damage requires further study.

The research was carried out in accordance with the principles of the Helsinki Declaration. The study protocol was approved by the Local Ethics Committee of the participating institution. The informed consent of the patient was obtained for conducting the studies.

No conflict of interest was declared by the authors.


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