Clinical investigations from the RACP

Investigation of infants and children with vomiting

Alan Chong



Vomiting and regurgitation are very common presenting symptoms to the doctor and can cause great concern to both parents and doctors.

Key Points

  • Although some 50% of infants have regurgitation or vomiting as an isolated complaint, less than 5% have significant underlying disease.
  • Investigations should be tailored to confirm the suspected diagnosis, exclude complications of vomiting and make an assessment to assist management.
  • Healthy thriving infants with regurgitation or mild uncomplicated gastro-oesophageal reflux do not require any investigation.
  • Warning signs requiring investigation or referral include: bilious vomiting; persistent, severe or recurrent vomiting; and vomiting associated with abdominal pain, lethargy, failure to thrive or neurological signs.