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Year : 2015  |  Volume : 15  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 14-17

Serum electrolyte profiles of under-five Nigerian children admitted for severe dehydration due to acute diarrhea

1 Department of Child Health, Endocrine and Metabolic Unit, University of Benin Teaching Hospital, PMB 1111, Benin City, Nigeria
2 Department of Medical Laboratory Science, St Philomena Catholic Hospital, Benin City, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
A N Onyiriuka
Department of Child Health, Endocrine and Metabolic Unit, University of Benin Teaching Hospital, PMB 1111, Benin City
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/1596-4078.171374

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Background: Serum electrolyte disturbances are common in under-five children with acute diarrhea but may remain unrecognized, resulting in morbidity and sometimes mortality. Objective: The objective was to assess the type and prevalence of electrolyte abnormalities in severely dehydrated under-five children with acute diarrhea at the point of hospital admission. Patients and Methods: This was a descriptive, hospital-based cross-sectional study of children aged 1–59 months with severe dehydration due to acute diarrhea. Serum electrolyte profiles were determined. Outcome measures such as death or survival were recorded. The co-morbidities were also recorded. Results: Of the 63 children studied, 50 (79.3%) subjects were aged below 36 months. Vomiting and fever accompanied diarrhea in 33 (52.4%) of the cases. The frequencies of the various types of dehydration were hyponatremic in 41 (65.1%), isonatremic in 17 (27.0%), and hypernatremic in 5 (7.9%) of the children. Of the electrolyte abnormalities observed, hyponatremia and hypokalemia ranked first and second in frequency, respectively. The overall case fatality rate was 6 (9.5%). All the patients that died were aged below 24 months. 5 (83.3%) of the 6 patients that died had a combination of metabolic acidosis in association with one or two other electrolyte abnormalities. 6 (10.5%) of the 57 patients that survived had normal serum electrolyte profiles. Conclusion: Hyponatremia, hypokalemia, and metabolic acidosis were the leading electrolyte abnormalities in acute diarrheal illnesses and were responsible for most diarrhea-related deaths, particularly when measles or bronchopneumonia is a co-morbid condition.

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