Prevalence of hypoglycaemia in under-five children presenting with acute diarrhoea in University of Calabar Teaching Hospital, Calabar.
Background: The clinical features of hypoglycaemia and severe dehydration are similar, and these two can occur in a child presenting with acute diarrhoea. Hypoglycaemia occurring in a growing brain is deleterious and must be detected and treated. Objective: To determine the prevalence of hypoglycaemia among under-five children presenting with acute diarrhoea in UCTH, Calabar. Method: This was a prospective study of 150 children aged six weeks to five years presenting with acute diarrhoea in UCTH, Calabar from June 1st to October 31st 2008. Consecutive children who met the inclusion criteria were recruited into the study. Blood samples were collected for random blood sugar and serum electrotype estimation using One Touch Ultra Test Strips 2006 model and Flame photometry respectively. Results: The overall prevalence of hypoglycaemia in under-five children presenting with acute diarrhoea was 4%. There was no sex difference. It was commonest among children of the low socioeconomic class (83.3%). Risk factors to developing hypoglycaemia were longer duration of last feeds greater than five hours and severe dehydration, both reaching statistically significant differences (p=0.022 and 0.002; FET respectively). Forty percent of patients who died had hypoglycaemia constituting 33.3% of patients with hypoglycaemia. Conclusion: Children with diarrhoea complicated with severe dehydration are prone to developing hypoglycaemia. It causes high mortality and thus this parameter should be checked for and managed on time.
Key words: Hypoglycaemia, acute diarrhoea, under-five children.