Chronic Enteropathy: Clinical AspectsGibbons T. · Fuchs G.
University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Arkansas Children’s Hospital, Little Rock, AR, USA
Diarrheal disease is a major cause of childhood morbidity and mortality worldwide. Chronic enteropathy with subsequent persistent diarrhea and associated vicious cycles of malnutrition, increased gut permeability and secondary immunodeficiency are particularly devastating in the childhood population. The major causes of chronic enteropathy differ significantly between developed countries and developing countries. In developed countries, infectious and postinfectious diarrhea as well as abnormalities in immune response including celiac disease, food-induced allergic enteropathy and idiopathic inflammatory bowel disease account for most cases of chronic enteropathy. In developing countries, syndromic persistent diarrhea associated with malnutrition and secondary immunodeficiency due to human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection predominate as the major causes of chronic enteropathy. These latter two causes account for a disproportionate share of the more than 2.5 million deaths of children under 5 years of age due to diarrhea each year worldwide. From a practical perspective, diagnostic evaluation of chronic enteropathy in developing countries is often limited to identifying potential causative enteropathogens and antimicrobial treatment. Proper management with an emphasis on fluid homeostasis and protocolized nutritional therapy and rehabilitation is essential to successful treatment of syndromic persistent diarrhea.
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