Radiographic and endoscopic measurements of esophageal length in pediatric patients

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Annals of Otology, Rhinology and Laryngology








Esophageal length; Extraesophageal reflux disease; Intraluminal impedance study; Lower esophageal sphincter; Pediatric patient; Upper esophageal sphincter


Objectives: Knowledge of the length between the upper esophageal sphincter (UES) and the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) in pediatric patients is essential for intraluminal impedance and dual pH probe recordings. Methods: We measured the vertical distance between the true vocal cords (TVCs) and the LES in chest x-rays (CXRs) of 118 children (ages, 6 weeks to 13 years) and measured the vertical distance between the UES and the LES during endoscopy in 31 patients (ages, 14 months to 17 years) and correlated the measurements to height, weight, and age. Results: Esophageal length correlated best with patient height (R = 0.96 by CXR, R = 0.88 by endoscopy) and less well with weight (R = 0.87, R = 0.67) and age (R = 0.94, R = 0.86). Linear regression analyses using radiographic measurements revealed that esophageal length (TVC to LES) can be estimated from a patient's height by the following equation: 1.048 + 0.167 × height (in centimeters). With the upper pH probe placed in the hypopharynx at the TVC level and the inferior probe placed in the esophagus 3 to 6 cm above the LES, the patients were divided into 6 groups corresponding to the currently available number of sizes of dual pH-impedance probes. With the patients' heights between 71.5 and 161.3 cm, 64.7% to 100% of patients were within 1 cm of the desired location with preselected probes. Confirmation of placement was performed with CXR. Conclusions: A pediatric patient's height can be used to estimate the esophageal length (TVC to LES) and facilitate the selection of dual pH-impedance probes. Our method decreases the risk of morbidity while increasing the accuracy of the study of extraesophageal reflux disease. © 2005 Annals Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

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