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JOURNAL ARTICLE

Frequency of hyponatraemia and hypokalaemia in malnourished children with acute diarrhoea

Asma Bilal, Mohammad Arif Sadiq, Nighat Haider
JPMA. the Journal of the Pakistan Medical Association 2016, 66 (9): 1077-1080
27654723

OBJECTIVE: To determine the frequency of hyponatraemia and hypokalaemia in malnourished children with acute diarrhoea.

METHODS: This cross-sectional study was carried out at the Military Hospital, Rawalpindi, Pakistan, from September 2013 to March 2014, and comprised acute diarrhoea patients whose ages ranged from six months to five years. Blood samples for serum sodium and potassium were examined at the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology. Patients were labelled as having hyponatraemia, hypokalaemia, both or having normal serum sodium and potassium levels.

RESULTS: Of the 80 patients, 49(61.3%) were boys and 31(38.7%) were girls with an overall mean age of 1.9±1.4 years. Besides, 41(51.3%) were aged below one year. The mean duration of diarrhoea was 3.2±1.7 days, with 53(66%) patients having the illness for 1-3 days. Hyponatraemia was observed in 26(32.5%) patients and hypokalaemia in 44(55%), whereas 10(12.5%) had no electrolyte imbalance. None of the participants had hypernatraemia or hyperkalaemia.

CONCLUSIONS: Electrolyte disturbances among malnourished children may not be clinically evident, but diarrhoeal illness aggravated these imbalances.

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