Acid and non-acid reflux during physiotherapy in young children with cystic fibrosis

Michael Doumit*, Usha Krishnan, Adam Jaffé, Yvonne Belessis

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Gastro-esophageal reflux (GOR) may contribute to lung disease in children with cystic fibrosis (CF). There is conflicting evidence regarding the effect of chest physiotherapy (CPT) in the head-down position on GOR. Furthermore, there is currently no evidence on the impact of physiotherapy on GOR as assessed by pH-multichannel intraluminal impedance (pH-MII). Aims (1) To characterize GOR in young children with CF. (2) To determine whether the head-down position during physiotherapy exacerbates GOR. Methods: Children were studied using pH-MII monitoring over 24-hr, during which they received two 20-min sessions of CPT. One session was performed in "modified" drainage positions with no head-down tilt and the alternate session in "gravity-assisted" drainage positions, which included 20° head-down tilt. Results: Twenty children with CF (8 males), median age 12 months (range 8-34) were recruited. A total of 1,374 reflux episodes were detected in all children, of which 869 (63%) were acid and 505 (37%) were non-acid. Seventy-two percent of the episodes migrated proximally. During CPT, there was no significant difference between total number of reflux episodes in the modified or gravity-assisted positions, median [inter-quartile range (IQR)] 1 (0-2.5) compared to 1 (0.75-3) episode, respectively, P=0.63. There was also no significant difference between the number of reflux episodes which migrated proximally, median (IQR) 1 (0-2) compared to 0 (0-2) episodes, respectively, P=0.75. Conclusion: In young children with CF, GOR is primarily acidic and proximal migration is common. Physiotherapy in the head-down position does not appear to exacerbate GOR. The impact of GOR on lung disease remains to be elucidated.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)119-124
Number of pages6
JournalPediatric Pulmonology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • cystic fibrosis
  • gastro-esophageal reflux
  • physiotherapy


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