We will write a custom Essay on Study of Electrolyte Imbalance in Ill Children specifically for you
301 certified writers online
Fluid and electrolyte imbalance can cause severe health outcomes in patients, especially those of young age. This paper reflects on the case study of a 2-year-old child that needs urgent care for persisting fever, diarrhea, and vomiting. It discusses the type of fluid and electrolyte losses that the patient may develop and presents possible clinical manifestations that a medical professional should consider in this case.
Water is a significant component of the human body that accounts for up to 70% of its weight (Jain, Shah, & Prajapati, 2015). Electrolytes are the acids and bases, as well as inorganic salts, which are dissolved in bodily fluids. According to Jain et al. (2015), electrolyte abnormalities are observed in more than 30% of children admitted to critical care units. In the case of a child that is present in the clinic for fever, vomiting, and diarrhea, the patient is at risk for extensive fluid and electrolyte losses. It is vital to note that in children younger than five years old, diarrhea can lead to death (Huether & McCance, 2017). Moreover, fluid loss through vomiting and diarrhea, as well as excessive sweating which may be associated with fever, can result in a decrease in blood pressure and volume.
The patient may be considered at risk of developing hypotonic alternations, including hypovolemic hyponatremia associated with the loss of body sodium and total body water due to vomiting and diarrhea. Moreover, the patient can develop hypochloremia due to low levels of serum chloride, which may be caused by vomiting (Huether & McCance, 2017). It is necessary to mention that vomiting and diarrhea may lead to the decrease in potassium as well. Potassium is a major electrolyte that is vital for normal cellular functions (Huether & McCance, 2017). As a result of its imbalance, the patient may develop hyperkalemia, which is diagnosed when the level of potassium is less than 3,5 meq/L (Jain et al., 2015).
This condition may lead to the loss of muscle tone, muscle weakness, and paralysis. Moreover, low levels of potassium may cause non-responsiveness, hyperpolarization, and disruptions in the heart’s electrical conduction (Jain et al., 2015). It means that it is crucial to consider the risk of potassium decrease during diagnosis.
Fluid and electrolyte imbalances may result in various clinical manifestations that include thirst, decreased sweating and tears, soft eyeballs, concentrated urine, low blood pressure, headache, and elevated temperature (Huether & McCance, 2017).
If a patient develops hypochloremia or hypovolemic hyponatremia, a medical professional should watch for the decreased serum sodium concentration, and cell swelling. Moreover, a patient may show weakness, depressed reflexes, and muscle twitching, as well as tachycardia, hypotension, and the decrease in urine output. It is vital to mention that fluid and electrolyte imbalances may lead to life-threatening outcomes, including increased intracranial pressure and cerebral edema (Huether & McCance, 2017). It means that it is vital to provide timely diagnosis and treatment in this case.
This report shows that, in the presented case, it is vital to diagnose and treat the patient’s condition as soon as possible, as it may lead to severe health outcomes. In children of young age, fluid and electrolyte imbalance may result in death or terminal illnesses. The symptoms suggest that a patient may develop hypochloremia or hypovolemic hyponatremia and have a decreased level of potassium.
Huether, S. E., & McCance, K. L. (2017). Understanding pathophysiology (6th ed.). Elsevier: St. Louis, MO.
Jain, M., Shah, A., & Prajapati, R. (2015). Study of electrolyte imbalance in critically ill children. Journal of International Medical Research, 2(2), 56-59.