Oesophageal pH monitoring in children: how is it perceived by the parents and does the technique change feeding and daily activity?
A Arana, B Hauser, B Hegar, L Kaufman, Y Vandenplas
Aim: To determine whether oesophageal pH monitoring in infants induces changes in daily activity and feeding, and with the help of a questionnaire to evaluate how parents perceive pH monitoring.
Methods: The parents of 100 children, consecutively referred for oesophageal pH monitoring, were asked by one of the authors (A.A.) to respond to a standardized questionnaire immediately after the end of the procedure.
Twenty questions were asked, concerning five topics: feeding (4 questions), activity (6 questions), perception of the parents (6 questions), accuracy of the provided information (3 questions), and previous experience with oesophageal pH-metry (1 question).
For statistical analysis, every variable was qualified as "no change" and "change" for feeding and activity, as "positive" or "negative" regarding the perception of the test, and as "sufficient" or "insufficient" regarding the information provided.
The answers to the questions were also analysed according to the result of the oesophageal pH monitoring (normal vs abnormal), and according to whether or not there was previous experience of oesophageal pH-metry in a first degree relative.
Results: Changes in feeding occurred in 28% of cases and changes in activity in 30%, but did not differ according to the oesophageal pH-metry result.
Equally, the perception of the parents regarding the test (37% negative), the acceptability of a second pH-metry test (refusal in 52%) and previous experience with oesophageal pH-metry (positive in 25%) were not influenced by the result of the pH monitoring.
Parents of infants with abnormal oesophageal pH monitoring were more frequently dissatisfied with the information about the nature of the test provided before the test and also the results than parents of infants with normal results (52% vs 19%, respectively; p < 0.05).
Conclusion: According to the perception of the parents, pH monitoring induces changes in feeding and activity in 28% and 30%%, respectively; 63% of the parents considered pH monitoring to be well tolerated.
Parents of infants with abnormal pH monitoring results need more attention.