Gastroenteritis aggressive versus slow treatment for rehydration (GASTRO): a phase II rehydration trial for severe dehydration: WHO plan C versus slow rehydration

Houston KA, Gibb J, Olupot-Olupot P, Obonyo N, Mpoya A, Nakuya M, Muhindo R, Uyoga S, Evans JA, Connon R, Gibb DM, George EC, Maitland K
BMC Med. 2019;17

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BACKGROUND: World Health Organization rehydration management guidelines (plan C) for severe dehydration are widely practiced in resource-poor settings, but never formally evaluated in a trial. The Fluid Expansion as a Supportive Therapy trial raised concerns regarding the safety of bolus therapy for septic shock, warranting a formal evaluation of rehydration therapy for gastroenteritis. METHODS: A multi-centre open-label phase II randomised controlled trial evaluated two rehydration strategies in 122 Ugandan/Kenyan children aged 60 days to 12 years with severe dehydration secondary to gastroenteritis. We compared the safety and efficacy of standard rapid rehydration using Ringer's lactate (100 ml/kg over 3 h (6 h if < 1 year), incorporating 0.9% saline boluses for children with shock (plan C) versus slower rehydration: 100 ml/kg Ringer's lactate over 8 h (all ages) without boluses (slow: experimental). The primary outcome was the frequency of serious adverse events (SAE) within 48 h including cardiovascular, respiratory and neurological complications. Secondary outcomes included clinical, biochemical and physiological measures of response to treatment by intravenous rehydration. RESULTS: One hundred twenty-two eligible children (median (IQR) age 8 (6-12) months) were randomised to plan C (n = 61) or slow (n = 61), with two (2%) lost to follow-up at day 7). Following randomisation mean (SD) time to start intravenous rehydration started was 15 min (18) in both arms. Mean (SD) fluid received by 1 hour was greater in plan C (mean 20.2 ml/kg (12.2) and 33.1 ml/kg (17) for children < 1 year and >- 1 year respectively) versus 10.4 ml/kg (6.6) in slow arm. By 8 hours volume received were similar mean (SD) plan C: 96.3 ml/kg (15.6) and 97.8 ml/kg (10.0) for children < 1 and >/= 1 year respectively vs 93.2 ml/kg (12.2) in slow arm. By 48-h, three (5%) plan C vs two (3%) slow had an SAE (risk ratio 0.67, 95% CI 0.12-3.85, p = 0.65). There was no difference in time to the correction of dehydration (p = 0.9) or time to discharge (p = 0.8) between groups. Atrial natriuretic peptide levels rose substantially by 8 hours in both arms, which persisted to day 7. Day 7 weights suggested only 33 (29%) could be retrospectively classified as severely dehydration (>/= 10% weight loss). CONCLUSION: Slower rehydration over 8 hours appears to be safe, easier to implement than plan C. Future large trials with mortality as the primary endpoint are warranted. TRIAL REGISTRATION: ISRCTN67518332 . Date applied 31 August 2016.