2015 Volume 43 Issue 4 Pages 247-252
Background/Objective: Fluid, electrolytes and acid base disturbances are responsible for most deaths due to acute diarrhoea. The aim of this study is to describe the point-of-admission serum electrolyte profile of children with dehydration due to acute diarrhoea. Methods: In this cross-sectional study, the serum electrolyte levels of 185 children with dehydration due to acute diarrhoea were assessed at the point of admission at the Diarrhoea Treatment and Training Unit of the University of Benin Teaching Hospital. The age of the study population ranged from 29 days to 59 months. Results: Out of a total of 185 subjects, 30 (16.2%), 114 (61.6%), and 41 (22.2%) had severe, moderate and mild dehydration, respectively. In addition, hyponatraemic dehydration was the most common type of dehydration, accounting for 60.5% of cases. Metabolic acidosis and hypokalaemia occurred in 59.5% and 44.3% of cases, respectively. Only the serum bicarbonate level was significantly affected by degree of dehydration (p = 0.001). Age of more than 12 months and presence of vomiting were significantly associated with hyponatraemia (p = 0.005 & p = 0.02), while age of less than or equal 12 months and absence of vomiting were associated with metabolic acidosis (p = 0.04 & p = 0.03). Conclusion: The degree of dehydration appears to be a good predictor of the occurrence of metabolic acidosis while age is a risk factor for hyponatraemia and metabolic acidosis.