Objectives Medical treatment of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) in infants is controversial. The significance of labeling GERD as a disease is associated with overtreatment, however the long-term consequences of overdiagnosis are not well understood. In this study we will investigate if an overdiagnosis of GERD and a medical treatment for it as an infant is associated with more frequent doctor appointments and other medical diagnosis for those children growing up.
Method This will be a cross-sectoral study between general practice and pediatric department Slagelse Hospital, Zealand, Denmark. We will retrieve data from cross-linked registers. The National Patient Register (Landspatientregisteret), containing demographic and medical data of patients and medical diagnoses. The Prescibed drug register (Lægemiddelregisteret), recording information on all drugs dispensed over a given time period. We will calculate the odds ratio of getting other medical diagnosis after receiving GERD diagnosis.
Results This is a protocol for a study. We will report if there is an association between the diagnosis of GERD and prescription of PPI and the diagnosis of pneumonia and prescription of antibiotics or hospitalization < 6 months after starting treatment. We will report if there is an association between a GERD diagnosis as an infant and doctor appointments or hospital contacts in the childhood years. We will report if infants who were diagnosed with GERD are more prone to other medical diagnosis as 15 year olds.
Conclusions We will report if an otherwise healthy infant who early on has had a label of an overdiagnosed disease as GERD is more prone to getting other medical diagnoses and more frequent doctor appointments compared with same age children without GERD diagnosis as an infant.
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