Eur J Clin Invest 2011; 41 (4): 417–422
Background Young infants are frequently affected by uncomplicated regurgitation that may persist despite dietetic and conservative interventions. On this basis, we studied the putative effects of probiotics on the frequency of regurgitation and gastric emptying time in infants with functional gastroesophageal reflux (GER).
Patients and methods Forty-two infants with regurgitation were randomized to assume Lactobacillus reuteri DSM 17938 at a dose of 1 × 108 CFU per day and placebo for 30 days. The episodes of regurgitation were recorded by the parents each day. Gastric emptying time was recorded using real-time ultrasound at baseline and at the end of the study. Twenty-one infants without regurgitation were enroled to compare anthropometric and physiological parameters before the intervention diet.
Results Thirty-four infants completed the study (19 infants receiving probiotics and 15 placebo).At baseline, the whole group of infants was similar to the control group as regards anthropometric and physiological data. The median fasting antral area was significantly reduced, (P = 0·01) the delta in gastric emptying rate was significantly increased (P = 0·01) and the median episodes per day of regurgitation was reduced (, P < 0·001) in the probiotic group compared to the placebo group. In the whole group, the frequency of regurgitation and the basal antral area showed a positive correlation (r = 0·53, P = 0·004).
Conclusions In infants with functional GER, L. reuteri DSM 17938 reduce gastric distension and accelerate gastric emptying. In addition, this probiotic strain seems to diminish the frequency of regurgitation.