Hypernatremia in Children With Diarrhea: Presenting Features, Management, Outcome, and Risk Factors for Death

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We sought to investigate the magnitude, clinical features, treatment, and outcome of children suffering from hypernatremic diarrhea and to identify risk factors for fatal outcome among them. We reviewed 2 data sets of children <15 years admitted to the in-patient ward of the Dhaka Hospital of International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh (icddr, b) with diarrhea and hypernatremia (serum sodium ≥150 mmol/L): (a) March 2001 to March 2002 (n = 371) and (b) March 2009 to August 2011 (n = 360). We reviewed their records and collected relevant information for analyses. The prevalence of hypernatremia was 5.1% (371/7212) and 2.4% (360/15 219), case fatality rate was 15% and 19%, respectively. In logistic regression analysis, the risk for death significantly increased in association with serum sodium ≥170 mmol/L, nutritional edema, hypoglycemia, respiratory distress, and absent peripheral pulses and reduced with the sole use of oral rehydration salts (ORS) or ORS following intravenous fluid, if indicated (for all, P < .05). Thus, managing children with hypernatremia using only ORS or ORS following intravenous fluid may help reduce the number of deaths.

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