In 1985, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) published a policy statement on the treatment of infants with acute diarrhea complicated by mild to moderate d ehydration. To determine how closely physicians in the United States follow the AAP's treatment guidelines, a questionnaire was sent to 457 pediatricians and 360 family practitioners. The questionnaire presented a hypothetical infant with acute diarrhea complicated by mild to moderate dehydration and included questions regarding the number of such patients seen yearly, length of time used to rehydrate the infant, and how formula or solids are introduced following rehydration. Complete responses were received from 53% of pediatricians and 40% of family practitioners. The number of patients with acute diarrhea seen per year did not affect physician's treatment. Pediatricians and family practitioners responded similarly to most questions. Contrary to the AAP's guidelines to rehydrate in 4 to 6 hours, 62% of responding physicians extend the rehydration period to 12 to 24 hours. Also contrary to the AAP's recommendations, 62% of pediatricians and family practitioners use a lactose-free formula. The majority of responding physicians do follow the AAP's treatment guidelines to initiate feedings with diluted formula. Significantly more pediatricians than family practitioner advance to a full-strength formula within 1 day (P = .011). Fewer than 50% of physicians polled started solids within 24 hours as suggested by the AAP. Overall, the findings suggest that very few pediatricians and family practitioners follow all aspects of the AAP's treatment guidelines for infants with acute diarrhea complicated by mild to moderate dehydration.
- Received September 26, 1991.
- Accepted December 9, 1991.
- Copyright © 1992 by the American Academy of Pediatrics