Intended for healthcare professionals

Papers And Originals

A Survey of Infantile Gastroenteritis

Br Med J 1970; 3 doi: (Published 04 July 1970) Cite this as: Br Med J 1970;3:20
  1. Alastair G. Ironside,
  2. Ann F. Tuxford,
  3. Barrie Heyworth


    In 1967 we admitted 339 cases of infantile gastroenteritis; one-third of these were dehydrated, and in this group the commonest biochemical abnormality found was hypernatraemia, sometimes with metabolic acidosis. A higher incidence of dehydration was found in the patients who had received oral glucose fluids before admission. Enteropathic Escherichia coli were isolated from the faeces of 16% of the cases. Associated infections, especially of the respiratory tract, were common. Treatment was aimed at the restoration of fluid and electrolyte balance. Usually this was achieved with oral fluids, though intravenous fluids were used in the most severely dehydrated cases. Recovery was complete in 320 cases and a further 14 cases were discharged as carriers of enteropathic E. coli. There were five deaths (1·5%) in the series; three occurred immediately after admission.