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Overview of GI Disorders in Neonates and Infants

By William J. Cochran, MD, Associate, Department of Pediatrics GI and Nutrition;Clinical Professor, Department of Pediatrics, Geisinger Clinic, Danville, PA;Temple University School of Medicine

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Gastrointestinal disorders can affect neonates and infants:

Infectious gastroenteritis is the most common pediatric GI disorder. About 5 billion episodes occur worldwide each year, most commonly in developing countries among children < 5 yr. Death due to dehydration occurs in about 2 million cases/yr. In the US, 15 to 25 million cases occur annually, resulting in 300 to 400 deaths. About 2% of children in developed countries will require hospitalization at some time due to acute gastroenteritis and dehydration. In the US, acute gastroenteritis accounts for an estimated 200,000 hospitalizations and 3 to 5 million outpatient visits at a cost in excess of 1 billion dollars.