AIM: To investigate the frequency, etiology, and current management strategies for diarrhea in newborn.
METHODS: Retrospective, nationwide study involving 5801 subjects observed in neonatal intensive care units during 3 years. The main anamnesis and demographic characteristics, etiology and characteristics of diarrhea, nutritional and therapeutic management, clinical outcomes were evaluated.
RESULTS: Thirty-nine cases of diarrhea (36 acute, 3 chronic) were identified. The occurrence rate of diarrhea was 6.72 per 1000 hospitalized newborn. Etiology was defined in 29 of 39 newborn (74.3%): food allergy (20.5%), gastrointestinal infections (17.9%), antibiotic-associated diarrhea (12.8%), congenital defects of ion transport (5.1%), withdrawal syndrome (5.1%), Hirschsprung’s disease (2.5%), parenteral diarrhea (2.5%), cystic fibrosis (2.5%), and metabolic disorders (2.5%). Three patients died due to complications related to diarrhea (7.7%). In 19 of 39 patients (48.7%), rehydration was performed exclusively by the enteral route.
CONCLUSION: Diarrhea in neonates is a challenging clinical condition due to the possible heterogeneous etiologies and severe outcomes. Specific guidelines are advocated in order to optimize management of diarrhea in this particular setting.