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Pediatrics. 1991 Jan;87(1):28-33.

Use and misuse of oral therapy for diarrhea: comparison of US practices with American Academy of Pediatrics recommendations.

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Combined Program in Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition, Children's Hospital, Boston, MA 02115.


To determine how closely US pediatricians follow the 1985 American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Nutrition's recommendations on oral therapy for acute diarrhea, a questionnaire was administered to four groups: New England private practitioners, pediatricians from 27 states attending a postgraduate course, representatives of departments of pediatrics at US schools of medicine, and housestaff at Boston Children's and Massachusetts General hospitals. The responses from departments of pediatrics and housestaff were not significantly different from those of community practitioners in most categories. The reported rate of use of glucose-electrolyte solutions recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics was not different from the use of nonphysiologic, high-osmolar, low-salt solutions such as sodas and juices. The usage rate for glucose-electrolyte solutions meeting the American Academy of Pediatrics-recommended carbohydrate-to-sodium ratio of less than 2:1 was less than 30%. Other findings included the general lack of agreement on the use of a single type of therapy and the common use of oral therapy only for mild or no dehydration. Although the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that feeding be reintroduced in the first 24 hours of a diarrheal episode, the majority of respondents withhold feeding until the second day or later. These findings indicate that educational programs on oral therapy during acute diarrhea are needed in the United States.

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