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Ann Emerg Med. 1996 Sep;28(3):318-23.

Outpatient rapid intravenous rehydration to correct dehydration and resolve vomiting in children with acute gastroenteritis.

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  • 1Department of Pediatric Emergency Medicine, Children's Health Care-St Paul, Minnesota, USA.

Abstract

STUDY OBJECTIVE:

To determine the efficacy of outpatient rapid i.v. rehydration in correcting dehydration and resolving vomiting in children with mild to moderate dehydration resulting from acute gastroenteritis.

METHODS:

We carried out a prospective cohort study in an urban children's hospital. A convenience sample of 58 children aged 6 months to 13 years, with acute gastroenteritis and clinically estimated dehydration of 5% to 10% body weight, was assembled. All patients had been vomiting for less than 48 hours, had vomited at least five times in the 24 hours preceding presentation, and had metabolic acidosis (serum bicarbonate concentration, 18 mEq/L or less). Each patient received an i.v. infusion of 20 to 30 mL/kg isotonic crystalloid solution over 1 to 2 hours, followed by the oral administration of 1 to 3 ounces of clear fluid. Patients who subsequently vomited were admitted for continued i.v. fluid therapy. Patients who tolerated oral fluid were discharged; their caregivers were contacted by telephone 24 to 48 hours after discharge.

RESULTS:

All patients had improved hydration status after rapid i.v. rehydration. Sixteen patients (28%) did not tolerate oral fluids after rapid i.v. rehydration and were admitted; 11 of these patients had a serum bicarbonate concentration of 13 mEq/L or less. The other 42 patients (72%) tolerated oral fluids after rapid i.v. rehydration and were discharged; 41 of these patients had a serum bicarbonate concentration greater than 13 mEq/L. The frequency of serum bicarbonate concentration of 13 mEq/L or less on presentation was significantly greater (P = .001) in patients requiring hospitalization than in those discharged from the emergency department after rapid i.v. rehydration. Of 40 patients whose caregivers were contacted after discharge, 34 (85%) required no further medical evaluation or treatment for any reason, including inadequate hydration; 29 of these patients vomited no more than once. Six of the discharged patients (15%) required further medical evaluation and were admitted; four had recurrent vomiting and dehydration, two had not vomited but were dehydrated as a result of diarrheal fluid loss or inadequate oral fluid intake.

CONCLUSION:

Outpatient rapid i.v. rehydration is safe and effective in correcting dehydration and resolving vomiting in selected children with acute gastroenteritis and mild to moderate dehydration. In our study, most children who presented with a serum bicarbonate concentration greater than 13 mEq/L tolerated oral fluids after rapid i.v. rehydration and were further managed as outpatients without complications. By contrast, most children with a serum bicarbonate concentration of 13 mEq/L or less usually did not tolerate oral fluids after rapid i.v. rehydration and required more prolonged i.v. fluid therapy. All discharged patients, regardless of their serum bicarbonate concentration, demonstrated the ability to tolerate orally administered fluid.

Comment in

PMID:
8780476
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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