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Year : 2020  |  Volume : 29  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 295-302

Clinical profile and electrolyte abnormalities in hospitalized under-five children with acute gastroenteritis in a tertiary health facility

1 Department of Paediatrics, College of Medicine, University of Nigeria, Ozalla, Enugu, Nigeria
2 Department of Paediatrics, Enugu State University Teaching Hospital, Park Lane, Enugu, Nigeria
3 Department of Paediatrics, Federal Teaching Hospital, Abakaliki, Ebonyi State, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Benedict O Edelu
Department of Paediatrics, College of Medicine, University of Nigeria, Ituku, Ozalla, Enugu State
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/NJM.NJM_64_20

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Background: Electrolyte abnormalities constitute the leading causes of morbidity and mortality in younger children with acute gastroenteritis. The aim of the study was to determine the clinical profile and pattern of electrolyte abnormalities in under-five children hospitalized for acute gastroenteritis from November 1, 2014, to January 31, 2015. Methodology: This was a cross-sectional descriptive study among hospitalized under-five children with acute diarrhea who were consecutively recruited from November 1, 2014, to January 31, 2015. Relevant clinical data were obtained, while the physical examination was done on all subjects. Serum electrolytes values were determined using the ion-selective electrode system and compared with standard reference ranges. The data were analyzed using SPSS version 21.0 with the level of statistical significance set at P < 0.05. Results: A total of 108 under-five children were studied. The majority (101; 93.5%) were <24 months of age, while 41 (38%) of low socioeconomic class background. Metabolic acidosis was the most common electrolyte abnormality followed by hyponatremia and hypokalemia occurring singly or in combination. The case fatality rate was 13 (12.0%). The electrolyte derangements associated with mortality were hypokalemia and acidosis: 11 (84.6%) each, 9 (69.2%) had hyperchloremia, while 6 (46.2%) were reported to have hyponatremia. Conclusion: Electrolyte derangements are common in under 5 years children with acute diarrhea with increased mortality in those with severe acute malnutrition. Proper health education is needed to ensure adequate nutrition and timely use of low-osmolar oral rehydration solution as well as early referral of cases with persistent gastrointestinal losses in order to save lives.

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