What is the role of lab studies in the evaluation 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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Laboratory studies are of limited use in cases of mild dehydration. However, they should be considered under certain conditions, such as the following:

  • Consider a fingerstick to check serum glucose level in all patients, especially if mental status is not at baseline or hyperglycemia or hypoglycemia are suspected

  • Consider checking serum electrolytes in the moderately dehydrated child if the history or physical examination findings are inconsistent with straightforward gastroenteritis [7]

  • Check serum electrolyte levels in all children with severe dehydration and in those receiving intravenous fluids

  • Pursue appropriate testing when a diagnosis other than gastroenteritis is suspected

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