My 5 month old (3 months CGA) was diagnosed with severe reflux when she was 12 weeks old (2 Weeks CGA) and she now sees a Pediatric GI. She recently was admitted for Observation in a pediatric unit because her mouth turns blue and she starts coughing when on her back. After much close observation, I was told that she's having a vasovagal response to her reflux. Her o2 dropped to 60% for a few seconds and her heart rate dropped significantly as well. She has a follow up with a Pediatric Cardiologist in 3 days. I've been in the nursing field for 4 years and I've never heard of such a dramatic response to reflux! Is this common or normal? My concern is the lack of oxygen to her brain when this happens... I've been told by the hospitalist and her pediatrician that she wouldn't be a good candidate to have the reflux surgery because she's thriving and gaining weight really well (although projectile vomiting 1-2oz each time even sitting completely upright). From a cardiology stand point, could these episodes cause harm long term? How can this affect her as she grows?
Without evaluating your daughter, I cannot say exactly what will specifically happen with her. However, GE reflux is common in infants. And, the reflux can certainly cause a hypervagal response, which can include brief bradycardia. The brief nature of this does not lead to any permanent brain abnormalities, as best as we can tell. If comparing this to cardiac arrest, we know that brain damage can occur by 4-6 minutes. Therefore, for something so brief like this, it is essentially negligible.
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