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Revista chilena de pediatría

versión impresa ISSN 0370-4106


DEL POZO, Paulina et al. Clinical profile of children with diabetic ketoacidosis in fifteen years of management in a Critical Care Unit. Rev. chil. pediatr. [online]. 2018, vol.89, n.4, pp.491-498. ISSN 0370-4106.


Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) is the main cause of morbidity and mortality in children with type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM) due to clinical and biochemical alterations associated, cerebral edema as one of the most critical because of the high mortality rates and long-term neurological se quelae.


To analyze the clinical characteristics and complications of patients with DKA ad mitted to a pediatric intensive care unit.

Patients and Methods:

Retrospective study of DKA patients treated at the Hospital Clínico, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile (UPCPUC) between 2000 and 2015. Demographic characteristics, clinical manifestations, biochemical alterations, treatment, complications, and prognosis were assessed. Patients with T1DM onset were compared with those patients already diagnosed with diabetes, analyzing variables according to distribution.


46 DKA events were identified, 67% of them were the first episode of DKA. 66% of patients already diagnosed with diabetes were admitted due to poor adherence to treatment. The main symptoms described were: 63% polydipsia, 56% polyuria, 48% vomiting, 39% weight loss and 35% abdominal pain, and mean blood sugar levels of 522 mg/dL, pH 7.17, and plasma osmolality of 305 mOsm/L. 89% of patients received insulin infusion, and 37% presented hypokalemia. No episodes of cerebral edema or deaths were registered.


Most of the DKA admissions were due to T1DM onset. In the group of patients already diagnosed with diabetes, the poor adherence to treatment was the main cause of decompensation. There were no serious complications or deaths associated with DKA management during the studied period. Early diagnosis and proper and standardized treatment contributed to reducing morbidity and mortality in children with DKA.

Palabras clave : Diabetes; Diabetic ketoacidosis; insulin; cerebral edema.

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