Items in AFP with MESH term: Gastroenteritis
Intravenous Fluids for Children with Gastroenteritis - FPIN's Clinical Inquiries
ABSTRACT: Gastroenteritis in children is a common reason for visits to family physicians. Most cases of gastroenteritis have a viral etiology and are self-limited. However, more severe or prolonged cases of gastroenteritis can result in dehydration with significant morbidity and mortality. This is often the scenario in third-world countries, where gastroenteritis results in 3 million deaths annually. A proper clinical evaluation will allow the physician to estimate the percentage of dehydration and determine appropriate therapy. In some situations, laboratory studies such as determination of blood urea nitrogen and serum electrolytes may be helpful. Stool studies are indicated if a child is having bloody diarrhea or if an unusual etiology is suspected, such as Escherichia coli O157:H7 or Cryptosporidium. Most children with gastroenteritis can be treated with physiologically balanced oral rehydration solutions. In children who are hypovolemic, lethargic and estimated to be more than 5 percent dehydrated, initial treatment with intravenous boluses of isotonic saline or Ringer's lactate may be required. Children with severe diarrhea need nutrition to restore digestive function and, generally, food should not be withheld.
ABSTRACT: Acute gastroenteritis is a common and costly clinical problem in children. It is a largely self-limited disease with many etiologies. The evaluation of the child with acute gastroenteritis requires a careful history and a complete physical examination to uncover other illnesses with similar presentations. Minimal laboratory testing is generally required. Treatment is primarily supportive and is directed at preventing or treating dehydration. When possible, an age-appropriate diet and fluids should be continued. Oral rehydration therapy using a commercial pediatric oral rehydration solution is the preferred approach to mild or moderate dehydration. The traditional approach using "clear liquids" is inadequate. Severe dehydration requires the prompt restoration of intravascular volume through the intravenous administration of fluids followed by oral rehydration therapy. When rehydration is achieved, an age-appropriate diet should be promptly resumed. Antiemetic and antidiarrheal medications are generally not indicated and may contribute to complications. The use of antibiotics remains controversial.