Rapid Intravenous Rehydration Therapy in Children With Acute Gastroenteritis: A Systematic Review

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Rapid intravenous (IV) rehydration is commonly used for the management of pediatric gastroenteritis in the emergency department. The current practice shows wide variation in the volume and rate of rapid IV hydration. The aim of this review was to assess the efficacy of rapid IV rehydration compared with standard method in children with gastroenteritis.


MEDLINE (1946–2014), EMBASE (1974–2014), and CENTRAL via the Cochrane Library (Issue 8, 2014) were systematically searched to identify eligible studies. Inclusion criteria were randomized controlled trials of rapid IV rehydration in children with gastroenteritis.


A total of 1513 articles were retrieved, and our inclusion criteria were met by 3 studies, with a total of 464 participants. The percentage of children who were successfully rehydrated and tolerated oral fluids at 2 to 4 hours after starting IV fluid therapy ranged from 69% to 100% in both rapid IV rehydration and standard method. Time to discharge ranged from 2 to 6 hours (rapid rehydration) versus 2 to 5 hours (standard rehydration). Emergency department revisits ranged from 3% to 16% (rapid rehydration) versus 5% to 14% (standard). Summarized results suggested that rapid IV rehydration may be associated with longer time-to-discharge and higher readmission rates. The new evidence fails to demonstrate superiority of large-volume (60 mL/kg/h) over standard (20 mL/kg/h) IV rehydration.


Standard volume IV rehydration for 1 to 4 hours followed by oral hydration or maintenance IV fluids seems sufficient for most children with gastroenteritis requiring IV fluid administration. However, more evidence is needed to establish an optimal IV rehydration regimen.

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