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Cureus. 2019 May 31;11(5):e4789. doi: 10.7759/cureus.4789.

Precipitating Risk Factors, Clinical Presentation, and Outcome of Diabetic Ketoacidosis in Patients with Type 1 Diabetes.

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Internal Medicine, Jinnah Sindh Medical University, Karachi, PAK.
Internal Medicine, Chandka Medical College Hospital Larkana, Larkana, PAK.
Family Medicine, Dr. Ruth Pfau Hospital, Karachi, PAK.


Introduction Over the past few years, there have been drastic advancements in the management of type 1 and 2 diabetes mellitus (DM). Prevention of complications is a prime concern of all physicians dealing with DM. However, whether or not these interventions have helped in reducing the incidence of diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) in patients with type 1 DM, is still an unanswered question. The aim of this study is to assess the clinical pattern of DKA, evaluate its outcomes, and study the predictors of outcome. Methods The study was conducted as a prospective, observational one in the department of medicine of a tertiary care hospital from July-December 2018. Patients of type 1 DM presenting in the emergency department with DKA were evaluated for their predisposing factors, clinical presentation, biochemical parameters, rate of mortality, and predictors of mortality. Data was processed through and analyzed using IBM SPSS Statistics for Windows, version 22.0 (IBM Corp., Armonk, NY). Results The common clinical presentations include severe vomiting (32.2%), abdominal pain (27.9%), and depressed mental state (DMS) (26.8%). Infections (36.5%) and inadequate insulin dose (22.5%) were frequently seen as the predisposing factors. In one-fourth of the patients, this episode of DKA was the first presentation of DM (26.8%). The rate of mortality was 23.6%. The predictors of mortality included DMS, markedly low pH and serum bicarbonate, and high serum potassium at the time of presentation, random blood sugar >300 mg/dL and urine positive for ketones even after 12 hours of medical intervention, >50 international units (IU) insulin requirement within the first 12 hours, >6L fluid replenished within the first 24 hours, and new onset of fever within the first 24 hours. Conclusion The clinical presentation of DKA is not stark and vague signs such as generalized fatigue, nausea vomiting, abdominal pain, and DMS should raise suspicion. Underlying infections and inadequate insulin regimen predispose to acute DKA attack. Rate of mortality is high in these patients. Morality may be predicted by various clinical and biochemical parameters.


clinical spectrum; diabetic ketoacidosis; diabetic ketoacidosis complications; mortality risk; predictors of mortality; risk factors; type 1 diabetes

Conflict of interest statement

The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

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