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Type: Journal article
Title: Dehydration deaths in infants and young children
Author: Whitehead, F.
Couper, R.
Moore, L.
Bourne, A.
Byard, R.
Citation: American Journal of Forensic Medicine and Pathology, 1996; 17(1):73-78
Issue Date: 1996
ISSN: 0195-7910
Abstract: Dehydration in developed countries is an uncommon but important mechanism resulting in the death of infants and children. The clinicopathological features of a series of 37 fatal dehydration cases autopsied at the Adelaide Children's Hospital over a 33-year period (1961-1993) are presented. Causative factors for dehydration included gastroenteritis (21 cases), gastroenteritis with high environmental temperature (one case), high environmental temperatures (six cases), neglect/failure to thrive (four cases), mental retardation/chromosomal abnormality (three cases), congenital adrenal hyperplasia (one case), and unsuspected cystic fibrosis (one case). The mean age at death was 11.4 months (range 2 weeks to 6.25 years; median 6 months; 95% confidence interval 6 months to 1 year and 4 months; male-to-female ratio, 19:18). Sixteen of the 22 cases of fatal gastroenteritis (73%) occurred during the fall/winter months (March to August). There were a total of seven aboriginal or part aboriginal children in the group (19%). Children with mental retardation were at higher risk of dehydration, and previously unsuspected cases of child abuse/neglect also presented with lethal dehydration. Vitreous humor electrolyte levels and immunoassay for rotavirus were useful diagnostic adjuncts.
Keywords: Dehydration
Unexpected death
Rights: Copyright: © Lippincott-Raven Publishers
DOI: 10.1097/00000433-199603000-00014
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Appears in Collections:Aurora harvest 5
Pathology publications

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