Pain With Acute Gastroenteritis

A recent study by the APPETITE (Alberta Provincial Pediatric EnTeric Infection TEam) describes the frequency of abdominal pain with acute gastroenteritis (AGE).

S Ali et al. J Pediatr 2021; 231: 102-109. Characterizing Pain in Children with Acute Gastroenteritis Who Present for Emergency Care

This was a prospective cohort study with 2136 patients (median age 21 months) who were recruited from 2 pediatric EDs

Key findings:

  • In the 24 hours before enrollment, most caregivers reported moderate (28.6% [610/2136, 95% CI 26.7-30.5]) or severe (46.2% [986/2136, CI 44.0-48.3]) pain for their child. 
  • In the ED, they reported moderate (31.1% [664/2136, 95% CI 29.1-33.1]) or severe ([26.7% [571/2136, 95% CI 24.9-28.7]) pain; analgesia was provided to 21.2% (452/2131). The most common analgesics used in the ED were acetaminophen and ibuprofen.

In their discussion, the authors note the need for research on the development of effective, safe, and timely pain management plans. In my view, all gut pain, especially in those with chronic conditions, needs more effective treatments.

My take: This is an interesting study as very little has been published about AGE and abdominal pain. The study’s conclusions are limited by the age of the participants.

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