Medicine Central™ is a quick-consult mobile and web resource that includes diagnosis, treatment, medications, and follow-up information on over 700 diseases and disorders, providing fast answers—anytime, anywhere. Explore these free sample topics:
-- The first section of this topic is shown below --
- Oral rehydration therapy (ORT) is a clinically useful, cost-effective, and safe technique to treat mild and moderate dehydration from diarrheal illness.
- ORT is as effective as IV hydration and the treatment of choice for children with mild to moderate dehydration caused by diarrhea.
- ORT can be divided into rehydration and maintenance phases.
- ORT should have an osmolality of ~245 mOsm/kg, a sodium (Na+) content of ~75 mEq/L, and a glucose concentration of ~75 mmol/L (13.5 g/L) (1)[A].
- Fruit juices, soda, popsicles, sports drinks, and broth have inappropriate Na and/or electrolyte concentrations for isolated ORT.
- Although ORT can be prepared at home, commercially prepared solutions eliminate potential errors in homemade recipes.
- System(s) affected: endocrine/metabolic, gastrointestinal
- Diarrheal disease is a leading cause of childhood morbidity and mortality worldwide, causing ~2 million deaths per year (2).
- Diarrhea and the resulting dehydration is the source of >200,000 hospitalizations annually in the United States and is responsible for >1.5 million outpatient visits (2).
- Predominant age: Primarily infants and children, but ORT is effective for all ages.
Etiology and Pathophysiology
ORT takes advantage of the preserved coupled transport of Na+ and glucose in the small intestine during infectious gastroenteritis. Water follows Na+osmotically. Potassium is passively absorbed via solvent drag. An equimolar concentration of glucose and Na+ is most effective for ORT.