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Pediatr Diabetes. 2018 Aug;19(5):985-992. doi: 10.1111/pedi.12663. Epub 2018 Apr 26.

Presenting predictors and temporal trends of treatment-related outcomes in diabetic ketoacidosis.

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Department of Critical Care Medicine, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Safar Center for Resuscitation Research, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Brain Care Institute, Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Division of Pediatric Endocrinology, Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
The Clinical and Translational Science Institute, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.



This study examines temporal trends in treatment-related outcomes surrounding a diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) performance improvement intervention consisting of mandated intensive care unit admission and implementation of a standardized management pathway, and identifies physical and biochemical characteristics associated with outcomes in this population.


A retrospective cohort of 1225 children with DKA were identified in the electronic health record by international classification of diseases codes and a minimum pH less than 7.3 during hospitalization at a quaternary children's hospital between April, 2009 and May, 2016. Multivariable regression examined predictors and trends of hypoglycemia, central venous line placement, severe hyperchloremia, head computed tomography (CT) utilization, treated cerebral edema and hospital length of stay (LOS).


The incidence of severe hyperchloremia and head CT utilization decreased during the study period. Among patients with severe DKA (presenting pH < 7.1), the intervention was associated with decreasing LOS and less variability in LOS. Lower pH at presentation was independently associated with increased risk for all outcomes except hypoglycemia, which was associated with higher pH. Patients treated for cerebral edema had a lower presenting mean systolic blood pressure z score (0.58 [95% confidence interval (CI) -0.02-1.17] vs 1.23 [1.13-1.33]) and a higher maximum mean systolic blood pressure (SBP) z score during hospitalization (3.75 [3.19-4.31] vs 2.48 [2.38-2.58]) compared to patients not receiving cerebral edema treatment. Blood pressure and cerebral edema remained significantly associated after covariate adjustment.


Treatment-related outcomes improved over the entire study period and following a performance improvement intervention. The association of SBP with cerebral edema warrants further study.


critical care; diabetic ketoacidosis; pediatrics


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