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J Pediatr. 1997 Sep; 131(3): 405-12.

Successful use of a chicken-based diet for the treatment of severely malnourished children with persistent diarrhea: a prospective, randomized study.

Nurko S, García-Aranda JA, Fishbein E, Pérez-Zúñiga MI.

Department of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition, Hospital Infantil de México Federico Gómez, Mexico City, Mexico.

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the efficacy of a chicken-based diet for the treatment of persistent diarrhea in severely malnourished children. STUDY DESIGN: Prospective, randomized, double-blind study that compared a chicken-based diet with elemental (Vivonex) and soy (Nursoy) diets. Hospitalized children with third-degree malnutrition and persistent diarrhea, aged 3 to 36 months, were included. Diets were isocaloric and given nasogastrically at 150 ml/kg per day in progressively increasing concentrations. RESULTS: Fifty-six children were included (18 received Vivonex, 19 Nursoy, 19 chicken). They had a mean age of 6.4 +/- 4.4 months, a mean weight of 3604 +/- 1232 gm, and a mean weight-for-age percentage of 51.4% +/- 7.2%. Sixty-four percent had associated conditions on admission to the hospital. Forty-one children (73.2%) were successfully treated (13 Vivonex, 13 Nursoy, 15 chicken). There were no differences in diarrheal outcomes, and all groups had significant weight gain. Failure was independent of the diet and was associated with the presence of infection on admission. There was a significantly higher nitrogen balance in the children from the chicken group (358.2 +/- 13 mg/kg per day) than in those receiving Vivonex (226.6 +/- 61) or Nursoy (291-4 +/- 111.6; p < 0.05) groups. CONCLUSIONS: The chicken-based diet was as effective as Vivonex or Nursoy. It is well tolerated, inexpensive, and widely available and thus represents an effective and inexpensive alternative to the treatment of severely malnourished children with persistent diarrhea.

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