This site is intended for healthcare professionals

Go to /sign-in page

You can view 5 more pages before signing in

Diagnosis and investigations in child with gastroenteritis

Last reviewed dd mmm yyyy. Last edited dd mmm yyyy

Authoring team

Mild dehydration which is being treated with oral fluids requires no further investigation.

Diagnosis and investigations:

  • a stool sample is not a mandatory investigation in case of diarrhoea and vomiting in children
    • stool microbiological investigations should be performed if:
    • septicaemia is suspected or
    • there is blood and/or mucus in the stool or
    • the child is immunocompromised
    • in other circumstances when stool microbiological investigations should be considered include:
      • the child has recently been abroad or
      • the diarrhoea has not improved by day 7 or
      • there is uncertainty about the diagnosis of gastroenteritis
  • blood cultures
    • if giving antibiotic therapy then perform a blood culture
  • blood biochemical testing is not routinely indicated
    • measurement of plasma sodium, potassium, urea, creatinine and glucose concentrations is indicated if:
      • intravenous fluid therapy is required or
      • there are symptoms and/or signs that suggest hypernatraemia
  • venous blood acid-base status and chloride concentration is indicated if shock is suspected or confirmed

If the diarrhoea is bloody then a full blood count, blood cultures and urea and electrolytes should be performed. If the haemoglobin is low then haemolytic uraemic syndrome should be considered and a film should be asked for to see if there are fragmented red blood cells.


Create an account to add page annotations

Add information to this page that would be handy to have on hand during a consultation, such as a web address or phone number. This information will always be displayed when you visit this page

The content herein is provided for informational purposes and does not replace the need to apply professional clinical judgement when diagnosing or treating any medical condition. A licensed medical practitioner should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions.


Copyright 2024 Oxbridge Solutions Limited, a subsidiary of OmniaMed Communications Limited. All rights reserved. Any distribution or duplication of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited. Oxbridge Solutions receives funding from advertising but maintains editorial independence.