Author(s): Pedada Pratima, M. Padma Geethanjali
BACKGROUND Acute Gastroenteritis is a leading cause of illness and death amongst children in developing countries. Serum electrolyte disturbances are common in under five children with acute gastroenteritis resulting in morbidity and mortality. The aim of the study was to assess the type and prevalence of electrolyte imbalance in under five children with acute gastroenteritis. MATERIALS AND METHODS This was a descriptive, hospital based cross-sectional study of children below five years age group with dehydration due to acute gastroenteritis. Serum electrolyte profiles were determined. RESULTS Out of 80 children studied, 44 (55%) children were aged below 12 months, 20 (25%) children were between 13 to 36 months, and 16 (20%) children were between 3 to 5 years. The frequencies of various types of dehydration were hyponatraemic in 49 (62.5%) children, isonatremic in 31 (38.75%) children and no case of hypernatremia. Hypokalaemia was observed in 21 (26.5%) children. The overall case fatality rate was 6 (7.5%). All the children who died, were below 36 months. All were acidotic. Two had features of acute renal failure. Others died because of associated infection and peripheral circulatory failure. CONCLUSION Hyponatremia, Hypokalaemia were the common electrolyte abnormalities in acute gastroenteritis and were responsible for most deaths.