Characterization of Upper Gastrointestinal Motility in Infants With Persistent Distress and Non-IgE-mediated Cow's Milk Protein Allergy

Taher Omari, Jacinta M. Tobin, Lisa McCall, Karina Savage, Lara Ferris, Paul Hammond, Stamatiki Kritas, Patrick Quinn, Rammy Abu-Assi, David Moore, Geoffrey Davidson, Michael Gold, Ralf G. Heine

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11 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND: Persistent crying in infancy is common and may be associated with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and/or non-IgE-mediated cow's milk protein allergy (CMPA). We aimed to document upper gastrointestinal motility events in infants with CMPA and compare these to findings in infants with functional GERD. METHODS: Infants aged 2 to 26 weeks with persistent crying, GERD symptoms and possible CMPA were included. Symptoms were recorded by 48-hour cry-fuss chart and validated reflux questionnaire (infant GERD questionnaire [IGERDQ]). Infants underwent a blinded milk elimination-challenge sequence to diagnose CMPA. GERD parameters and mucosal integrity were assessed by 24-hour pH-impedance monitoring before and after cow's milk protein (CMP) elimination. C-octanoate breath testing for gastric emptying dynamics, dual-sugar intestinal permeability, fecal calprotectin, and serum vitamin D were also measured. RESULTS: Fifty infants (mean age 13 ± 7 weeks; 27 boys) were enrolled. On the basis of CMP elimination-challenge outcomes, 14 (28%) were categorized as non-IgE-mediated CMPA, and 17 (34%) were not allergic to milk; 12 infants with equivocal findings, and 7 with incomplete data were excluded. There were no baseline differences in GERD parameters between infants with and without CMPA. In the CMPA group, CMP elimination resulted in a significant reduction in reflux symptoms, esophageal acid exposure (reflux index), acid clearance time, and an increase in esophageal mucosal impedance. CONCLUSIONS: In infants with persistent crying, upper gastrointestinal motility parameters did not reliably differentiate between non-IgE-mediated CMPA and functional GERD. In the group with non-IgE-mediated CMPA, elimination of CMP significantly improved GERD symptoms, esophageal peristaltic function, and mucosal integrity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)489-496
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of pediatric gastroenterology and nutrition
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2020


  • cow's milk allergy
  • esophageal motility
  • gastroesophageal reflux disease
  • mucosal integrity
  • pH-impedance monitoring


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