MEDIA AVAILABILITY: Dr. Eric Eichenwald, Co-author of Guidelines on Treating Gastroesophageal Reflux in Preterm Infants

PHILADELPHIA, July 2, 2018 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Gastroesophageal reflux (GER), the passage of stomach contents into the esophagus, is an almost universal phenomenon in preterm infants and is a common diagnosis in the neonatal intensive care unit. However, hospitals vary greatly in GER treatment. Preterm infants with clinically diagnosed GER are often treated with medications, but emerging evidence of significant harm strongly suggests that these agents should be used sparingly, if at all, in vulnerable preterm infants.

Eric Eichenwald, MD, FAAP, chief of the division of Neonatology at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), and author of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) guidelines on Diagnosis and Management of Gastroesophageal Reflux in Preterm Infants, published recently, is available to speak with media.

Dr. Eichenwald has treated many preterm infants with GER in the neonatal intensive care unit over the course of his career. He says, "Most infants have some degree of reflux; gastroenterologists separate GER from gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), in which babies have symptoms or evidence for esophageal irritation, from acid reflux. However, many factors can cause reflux, such as relaxation of the esophagus, body position or large volume of liquid in the stomach. In most cases, GER has no symptoms and allows the infant to develop normally."

"There is little evidence that clinically diagnosed reflux based on behavioral signs such as irritability, wakefulness or apnea of prematurity is caused by GER," he continued. The committee notes that most non-pharmacologic approaches to reflux have not been adequately studied, and may not reduce clinical signs commonly attributed to GER. "In addition, the committee recommends that anti-reflux medications be used rarely, if at all, in preterm infants due to questions about efficacy and potential for harm," he added.

The AAP guidelines "Diagnosis and Management of Gastroesophageal Reflux in Preterm Infants" is published online today and will appear in the July print issue of Pediatrics.

To schedule an interview, please contact Joey McCool Ryan from CHOP'S Public Relations team at 267-426-6070 or

About Children's Hospital of Philadelphia: Children's Hospital of Philadelphia was founded in 1855 as the nation's first pediatric hospital. Through its long-standing commitment to providing exceptional patient care, training new generations of pediatric healthcare professionals, and pioneering major research initiatives, Children's Hospital has fostered many discoveries that have benefited children worldwide. Its pediatric research program is among the largest in the country. In addition, its unique family-centered care and public service programs have brought the 546-bed hospital recognition as a leading advocate for children and adolescents. For more information, visit

Contact: Joey McCool Ryan
Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
267-426-6070 (office)

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SOURCE Children's Hospital of Philadelphia


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