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Gastro-oesophageal reflux

Mild gastro-oesophageal reflux (GOR)

Reflux is the return of stomach contents back up the oesophagus (see diagram, below). Minor degrees of reflux are common in all newborn babies which is why they possit (bring up small mouthfuls of milk after feeding).

GOR is caused by weakness of a valve at the top of the stomach called the lower oesophageal sphincter.

This is another common problem seen with oesophageal atresia.

Sometimes stomach acid regurgitates up the oesophagus where it can cause inflammation and pain.

In adults, this causes heartburn. In babies, it can discourage them from feeding.

Most OA/TOF babies will reflux and a  variety of medicines and food thickeners are used to treat this.

Watch our reflux Q&A session

Severe gastro-oesophageal reflux

All babies with OA/TOF have some degree of gastro oesophageal
reflux (GOR), but reflux is worse in babies following an anastomosis that was performed under tension.

  • Severe reflux will result in frequent vomiting, choking, pain, irritability and refusal to feed.
  • It will also make an anastomotic stricture worse.

Severe reflux, especially if associated with an anastomotic stricture, is treated by an anti-reflux operation. Around 1 in 10 babies with oesophageal atresia will require this operation which is called a fundoplication.

Would you like more information?

Published by TOFS, The TOF Book is the must have guide for anyone affected by, or caring for someone with OA/TOF.

With contributions from medical experts, the TOF Book contains chapters on every aspect of OA/TOF and VACTERL condition, from infancy to adulthood all presented in an easy-to-understand format.