Characteristics of admissions with diabetic ketoacidosis in a
specialized children hospital: Missing insulin is still a challenge!
Aim: To assess the characteristics of admissions with diabetic
ketoacidosis (DKA) in a specialized children hospital in order to inform
appropriate prevention and intervention strategies. Methods: This is a
retrospective chart review of DKA admissions of children with T1DM at
King Abdullah Specialized Children’s hospital, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
(March 2015- December 2017). Results: A total of 116/562 patients with
type 1 diabetes (mean age 8.97±3.08 years, Females n=81 (55.5%))
presented with DKA during the study period. The majority were between
10-14 years of age (p=<0.001). We scrutinized data from
(146/311, 47%) DKA events of all inpatient admissions of children with
T1D. The frequency of DKA admissions was 26% (n=146/562 of all patients
with T1DM, 25% (n= 42/141) were in newly diagnosed and 24.7%
(n=104/421) were in previously diagnosed patients). Missing insulin was
the main precipitating cause (p=0.001) in previously diagnosed patients.
Recurrent episodes (n=30, 20.5% of all episodes) occurred in 15/116
patients and was more common in children 10 years old (P=0.024). The
overall mean length of stay (LOS) was 2.67±2.04 days. Increased LOS was
significantly associated with DKA severity (P=0.008). Conclusion:
Missing insulin remained to be the main cause of DKA in previously
diagnosed patients with type 1 diabetes even in advanced settings.
Besides awareness campaigns to prevent DKA as an initial presentation of
T1DM, intervention and prevention strategies should also focus on
vulnerable groups of previously diagnosed patients such as adolescents
and those with recurrent episodes of DKA.