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Management of acute gastroenteritis in healthy children in Lebanon - A national survey

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Author(s): Aouni Alameddine | Sawsan Mourad | Nahida Rifai

Journal: North American Journal of Medical Sciences
ISSN 1947-2714

Volume: 2;
Issue: 11;
Start page: 512;
Date: 2010;
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Keywords: Acute gastroenteritis | Lebanese pediatricians | laboratory studies in acute gastroenteritis in children | oral rehydration solutions

ABSTRACT
Background: Acute gastroenteritis remains a common condition among infants and children throughout the world. In 1996, The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) revised its recommendations for the treatment of infants and children with acute gastroenteritis. Aim: The purpose of this survey was to determine how closely current treatment among Lebanese pediatricians compares with the AAP recommendations and to determine the impact of such management on the healthcare system. Patients and Methods: The outline of the study was based on a telephone questionnaire that addressed the management of healthy infants and children below five years of age with acute gastroenteritis complicated by mild to moderate dehydration. In addition, the costs of medical treatment and requested laboratory studies were calculated. Results: A total of 238 pediatricians completed the questionnaire. Most pediatricians prescribed Oral Rehydration Solutions (ORS) for rehydration (92.4%), advised breastfeeding during acute gastroenteritis (81.5%), and avoided parenteral rehydration for mild to moderate dehydration (89.1%). In addition to ORS, oral fluids such as soda, juices, and rice water were allowed for rehydration by 43.7% of pediatricians. Thirty-one percent of pediatricians delayed re-feeding for more than 6 hours after initiation of rehydration. Only 32.8% of pediatricians kept their patients on regular full-strength formulas, and only 21.8% permitted full-calorie meals for their patients. 75.4% of pediatricians did not order any laboratory studies in cases of mild dehydration and 50.4% did not order any laboratory studies for moderate dehydration. Stool analysis and culture were ordered by almost half of the pediatricians surveyed. Seventy-seven percent prescribed anti-emetics, 61% prescribed probiotics, 26.3% prescribed antibiotics systematically and local antiseptic agents, 16.9% prescribed zinc supplements, and 11% percent prescribed antidiarrheal agents. Conclusion: Pediatricians in Lebanon are aware of the importance of ORS and the positive role of breastfeeding in acute gastroenteritis. However, they do not follow optimal recommendations from the AAP concerning nutrition, laboratory examinations and drug prescriptions. Consequently, this poses significant financial losses and economic burden.
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