Serum and rectal mucosal magnesium content was estimated in children (6-18 months old) with acute diarrhoea (Group I: n = 50), chronic diarrhoea (Group II: n = 25), extra-intestinal infections (Group III: n = 15) and healthy controls (Group IV: n = 20). The sex and nutritional status of the different groups were comparable. The mean serum magnesium levels in acute and chronic diarrhoea were comparable to healthy and infected controls. The tissue magnesium content of infants with chronic diarrhoea was significantly (P< 0.001) lower than other groups. Repeat estimation at discharge in 38 patients (25 in Group 1, 13 in Group II) revealed a significant reduction in serum levels in both groups (P<0.05 and P<0.01, respectively) and in tissue levels in acute diarrhoea (P<0.05). A total of 23 infants (16 in Group I) were evaluated 2-3 weeks after discharge. There was an increase in tissue magnesium content at recovery in acute (P<0.02) and chronic (P>0.05) diarrhoea groups. It is concluded that infants with chronic, but not acute diarrhoea, are magnesium depleted at presentation; with the continuation of diarrhoea there is a progressive depletion of magnesium; and there is a tendency to regain the magnesium status during the convalescent period.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
- Infectious Diseases