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Evid Based Nurs 8:57 doi:10.1136/ebn.8.2.57
  • Assessment (screening or diagnosis)

Review: capillary refill time, abnormal skin turgor, and abnormal respiratory pattern are useful signs for detecting dehydration in children

Test characteristics of examination signs to detect 5% dehydration in children (age range 2 wks to 15 y)*

Examination signs Number of studies (n) Sensitivity (95% CI) Specificity (CI) +LR −LR
*LR  =  likelihood ratio; other abbreviations defined in glossary. Sensitivity, specificity, +LR, and −LR were calculated from data in article using a random effects model.
Prolonged capillary refill 4 (478) 60% (29 to 91) 85% (72 to 98) 4.0 0.47
Abnormal skin turgor 5 (602) 58% (40 to 75) 76% (59 to 93) 2.42 0.55
Abnormal respiratory pattern 4 (581) 43% (31 to 55) 79% (72 to 86) 2.05 0.72
Dry mucous membranes 4 (533) 86% (80 to 92) 44% (13 to 74) 1.54 0.32
Sunken eyes 4 (533) 75% (62 to 88) 52% (22 to 81) 1.56 0.48
Poor overall appearance 3 (398) 80% (57 to 104) 45% (−10 to 102) 1.45 0.44

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