Introduction

Diarrhea can be the predominant symptom of a debilitating illness requiring intensive care or it can arise as a complication of intensive care treatment. General management principles are similar but there are significant differences in investigation and treatment.

Diarrhea is an increase in the frequency, quantity, and liquidity of feces. Quantitative definitions (e.g. more than 200 g of feces daily) have been used, but it is hard to weigh or measure the quantity of stool in critically ill patients. Commonly, all three characteristics of the stool are changed in patients with diarrhea. Different types of diarrhea are summarized in Table 1.

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Table 1 Types of diarrhea

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