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Horm Res Paediatr. 2014;81(4):285-8. doi: 10.1159/000357140. Epub 2014 Mar 13.

Severe pretreatment cerebral edema in newly diagnosed type 1 diabetes.

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Department of Pediatrics, Kinderklinik München Schwabing, Klinikum rechts der Isar, Technische Universität München, Munich, Germany.



Cerebral edema (CE) is a rare and dangerous complication of diabetic ketoacidosis. In typical cases, it may develop during several hours after the beginning of ketoacidosis therapy. Nevertheless, CE sometimes occurs before the start of any therapy - as for the patient in this report here.


We describe a 12-year-old girl with newly diagnosed type 1 diabetes, presenting with severe headache and disorientation. Diabetes-related symptoms were not reported by the family. Clinical investigation revealed signs of meningeal irritation and Kussmaul breathing. In the laboratory, severe ketoacidosis (pH 6.95) and hyperglycemia (blood glucose 20.9 mmmol/l) were found. Cranial computed tomography showed CE. The patient was treated with a very cautious fluid and insulin therapy and recovered within 3 days. MRI after recovery showed normal findings without residuals of CE.


CE before any treatment of ketoacidosis is a very rare complication of type 1 diabetes. Early diagnosis and effective treatment are extremely important for the patient's outcome and prognosis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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