Objectives. To characterize the clinical features, results of diagnostic testing, and treatment outcomes for children and adolescents with rumination syndrome.

Methods. Review of the medical records for all 147 patients ages 5 to 20 diagnosed with rumination syndrome at our institution between 1975 and 2000. Data are presented as mean ± the standard error of the mean.

Results. Sixty-eight percent were female. Age at diagnosis was 15.0 ± 0.3 years. Symptom duration before diagnosis was 2.2 ± 0.3 years, 73% missed school/work, and 46% had been hospitalized because of symptoms. Before diagnosis, 16 (11%) underwent surgery for evaluation or management of symptoms. Twenty-four (16%) had psychiatric disorders; 3.4% had anorexia or bulimia nervosa. All patients described postprandial regurgitation after almost every meal (2.7 ± 0.1 meals per day). Weight loss was described by 42.2% (median: 7 kg). Additional symptoms included: abdominal pain, 38%; constipation, 21%; nausea, 17%; and diarrhea, 8%. Structural studies were normal. Gastric emptying of solids at 4 hours was delayed in 26 of 56 patients. Esophageal pH testing in 24 patients showed reflux/regurgitation in 54%. Gastroduodenal manometry in 65 patients showed characteristic rumination-waves in 40%. Outcome data (at median follow-up 10 months) were available for 54 patients. Symptoms resolved in 16 (30%) and improved in 30 (56%).

Conclusions. Recognition of the clinical features of rumination syndrome in children and adolescents is essential; the diagnosis is often delayed and associated with morbidity. Extensive diagnostic testing is unnecessary. Early behavioral therapy is advocated, and patient outcomes are generally favorable.

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