Document Type



Paediatrics and Child Health


Introduction: Responsible for at least one in nine pediatric deaths, diarrheal diseases are the leading, global cause of death. Further abetted by improper antibiotic use in a hospital setting, children with acute watery diarrhea can see prolonged hospital stays, and unwanted adverse effects such as antibiotic resistance. Hence, this study is aimed to identify the association between antibiotic usage for the treatment of acute watery diarrhea in children, and the impact this line of management has on the duration of their hospital stay.
Methods: A retrospective review was conducted at the department of Pediatric of Aga Khan University Hospital (AKUH) in Karachi. A total of 305 records of children aged 6 months to 5 years who were admitted with a diagnosis of acute watery diarrhea from June 2017 -December 2018 was screened, of which 175 fulfilled the eligibility criteria. A predesigned questionnaire was used to collect demographic information, comorbidities, and clinical features, severity of dehydration, clinical examination, treatment received, and laboratory investigations. The primary outcome of this study was the length of hospital stay measured against the number of hours a child stayed in hospital for treatment of acute watery diarrhea. The statistical analysis was carried out using STATA version 14 to reach conclusive results.
Results: 175 patients presented with acute watery diarrhea, out of which 106 (60.6%) did not receive antibiotics. The median (IQR) age of the group that did not receive antibiotics was 12.0 (12.0) months compared to 15.0 (12.0) months for the group that did receive antibiotics. In both groups, there were more males than females, less than 15% of the patients were severely malnourished (WHZ score -3SD) and less than 10% of the patients were severely dehydrated. The median (IQR) length of hospital stay (hours) was 32.0 (19.0) respectively for the group that did not receive antibiotic and 41.0 (32.0) for the group that did receive antibiotic therapy. The expected length of hospital stay for the group that received antibiotic therapy was 0.22 hours higher than the group that did not. Finally, as compared to females, hospital stay for males was longer by 0.25 hours.
Conclusion: In conclusion, antibiotic use was associated with a prolonged hospital stay in children with acute watery diarrhea as compared to children who did not receive antibiotics. Large scale robust prospective studies are needed to establish this association using this observational data.


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Publication (Name of Journal)

PLoS One

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.