What is the prevalence of pediatric dehydration?

Updated: Nov 12, 2018
  • Author: Alex Koyfman, MD; Chief Editor: Muhammad Waseem, MS, MBBS, FAAP, FACEP, FAHA  more...
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Dehydration, particularly from gastroenteritis, is a common pediatric complaint in the ED. Approximately 30 million children are affected annually, with 1.5 million presenting to outpatient care, 200,000 requiring hospitalizations, and 300 dying in the United States. [5]

Worldwide, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), for children younger than 5 years, the annual incidence of diarrheal illness is approximately 1.5 billion, while deaths are estimated between 1.5 and 2.5 million per year. Though these numbers are staggering, they actually represent an improvement from the early 1980s, when the death rate was approximately 5 million per year. [5]

Infants and younger children are more susceptible to volume depletion than older children. In general, however, pediatric patients with volume depletion have an excellent prognosis if they are appropriately treated.

Morbidity varies with the degree of volume depletion and the underlying cause. The severely volume-depleted infant or child is at risk for death from cardiovascular collapse. Hyponatremia resulting from replacement of free water alone may cause seizures. Improper management of volume repletion may cause iatrogenic morbidity or mortality.

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