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Original Articles

Serum zinc levels and predictors of severity of acute lower respiratory tract infections in children under five years of age

Authors:

Shisira Philip,

Amala Institute of Medical Sciences, Thrissur, Kerala, IN
About Shisira
Postgraduate in Paediatrics, Department of Paediatrics
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Jessie Jose ,

Amala Institute of Medical Sciences, Thrissur, Kerala, IN
About Jessie
Assistant Professor, Department of Paediatrics
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Kalyani Pillai,

Amala Institute of Medical Sciences, Thrissur, Kerala, IN
About Kalyani
Professor, Department of Paediatrics
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Vadakkoottu Krishnan Parvathy

Amala Institute of Medical Sciences, Thrissur, Kerala, IN
About Vadakkoottu
Professor and Head, Department of Paediatrics
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Abstract

Background: Zinc has a central role in immunity and body`s response to infection. The detrimental effects of zinc deficiency on the immune system can lead to a worse outcome in pneumonia and other infections. There has been renewed interest in zinc in the wake of the SARS Coronavirus 2 pandemic.


Objectives: To estimate the serum zinc levels in children with acute lower respiratory infection (ALRI) and determine its association with respiratory rate, heart rate and oxygen saturation in room air.


Method: This hospital based descriptive study included 40 children admitted with varying degrees of severity of ALRI.


Results: Nineteen (47.5%) cases presented as wheeze-associated lower respiratory infection (WALRI) and bronchiolitis, 12 (30%) presented as pneumonia, 7 (17.5%) as severe pneumonia and 2 (5%) as very severe pneumonia. The mean serum zinc level was statistically different among these groups of children (p=0.0001). The mean serum zinc level in children with WALRI / bronchiolitis was 63.0532 ± 5.6283µg/dl while in children with pneumonia, severe pneumonia and very severe pneumonia the mean serum zinc levels were 48.5817 ± 1.7937µg/dl, 38.1043 ± 3.8443µg/dl and 36.305 ± 2.86378µg/dl respectively. Children with tachypnoea, tachycardia and low oxygen saturation levels had lower mean serum zinc levels of 44.579µg/dl (p=0.0001), 44.1113µg/dl (p = 0.0001) and 54.3073µg/dl (p=0.009) respectively which were statistically significant.


Conclusions: The mean serum zinc level was significantly low in children with tachypnoea, tachycardia and low oxygen saturation levels which are predictors of severe illness. Significantly low mean serum zinc levels were observed in children with different grades of pneumonia when compared to children with WALRI / bronchiolitis and in children with severe pneumonia when compared to those with pneumonia.


Sri Lanka Journal of Child Health, 2021; 50(4): 630-636

How to Cite: Philip, S., Jose, J., Pillai, K. and Parvathy, V.K., 2021. Serum zinc levels and predictors of severity of acute lower respiratory tract infections in children under five years of age. Sri Lanka Journal of Child Health, 50(4), pp.630–636. DOI: http://doi.org/10.4038/sljch.v50i4.9852
Published on 05 Dec 2021.
Peer Reviewed

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