Determining Doctors’ Perception Of Management Of Dehydration

It is universally recognized that dehydration can be easily prevented by drinking enough water. However, despite this simple cost-effective method, dehydration is a major problem in hospitals and community care, affecting health services. More than 663 million people around the world are at risk of dehydration as they do not have regular access to clean drinking water.

To avoid the complications of this easily preventable condition, it is necessary to diagnose and treat it early.

Objective: Determining doctors’ perception of management of dehydration.

A total of 105 doctors participated in the survey- General Practitioner (48%), Internist (23%), Pediatrics (16%), and Obstetrician & Gynaecologist (13%)

  1. A majority of doctors, 75% opined that lack of awareness of symptoms amongst patients leading to late diagnosis was a major barrier to the treatment of dehydration

  2. Around 65% of doctors recommended oral rehydration salts for the treatment of dehydration

  3. When the doctors were asked how often they come across patients with dehydration, 52% said sometimes and 30% said often

  4. Around 38% of doctors said they frequently encounter geriatric patients with dehydration

  5. Around 47% of doctors commonly came across hypovolemic shock as a common complication of dehydration

Our survey revealed a majority of doctors recommend oral rehydration salts (ORS) followed by IV fluids for the treatment of dehydration. Hypovolemic shock followed by urinary tract infections were the most commonly noted complication. ORS is widely available and effective in restoring electrolyte balance, which might be the reason that the maximum number of doctors recommend it

Dehydration is often misdiagnosed due to the misinterpretation of laboratory tests. Though being easily preventable, late diagnosis increases the incidence of complications. Facility staff, physicians and consultant pharmacists should pay close attention to patients receiving diuretics, ACE inhibitors, etc., or those who have comorbidities susceptible to dehydration. Clinics or hospitals should have an interdisciplinary focus on the prevention of dehydration.

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