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Hypovolemia in Infants

  • Cynthia M. Johnson, MA
Publication Type:


Hypovolemia in Infants


Hypovolemia is a low level of fluid in the body. Lower levels of blood make it hard to get nutrients and oxygen to the body. The heart, kidney, brain, and liver are at higher risk of harm. Treatment is needed right away.

Cardiopulmonary System.

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Hypovolemia may be caused by:

  • Dehydration due to:
    • Problems absorbing fluids in the digestive tract
    • Problems feeding
    • An illness that results in vomiting or diarrhea
  • Blood loss from an injury or illness

Risk Factors

Hypovolemia is more common in infants who are sick and have fever, vomiting, and diarrhea. Other things that may raise the risk are:

  • Gastroenteritis
  • Bacterial infections
  • Childhood illnesses, such as bronchiolitis
  • Not taking in enough fluids


Problems may be:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Few wet diapers
  • Weakness
  • Unusual sleepiness
  • Irritability
  • Sunken eyes


The doctor will ask about symptoms and past health. A physical exam will be done.

The doctor may check the baby’s blood flow by putting pressure on their nail bed.


The cause of the hypovolemia will need to be treated. The goal of treatment is to replace fluids. This can be done with rehydration therapy.


The risk of hypovolemia may be lowered by offering extra fluids to a baby who has vomiting, diarrhea, or fever.





  • Dehydration and hypovolemia in infants and children. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/dehydration-and-hypovolemia-in-infants-and-children.
  • Hypovolemic shock. Cleveland Clinic website. Available at: https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/22795-hypovolemic-shock.


  • Nicole S. Meregian, PA
Last Updated:

This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.