Introduction: Type 1 diabetes in children in France is frequently diagnosed at the stage of ketoacidosis (DKA).
Patients and methods: A prospective study was performed in a group of 72 children (mean age = 9.4 years) at onset of diabetes, in order to determine which factors were associated to DKA and to the severity of DKA (pH < 7.10) at diagnosis.
Results: Younger age was related to DKA (p = 0.03), but not to its severity. A lesser frequency of DKA was found in children with a family history of insulin-treated diabetes ( p = 0.04). Misdiagnosis was more frequently observed in children with DKA than in children without DKA (p = 0.02) and in case of severe DKA at admission by comparison with non severe cases (76 vs 23%; p = 0.002). Children in low economic intake families exhibited more frequently a severe DKA (77 vs 23%; p = 0.002) and were more frequently misdiagnosed before admission (48% vs 10%; p < 0.01). Urine strips for glucose and ketone determinations were underused for diagnosis before admission (15% only).
Conclusion: Those results underline the need to both inform physicians and ameliorate the access to health care for low social class families, in order to take up the challenge of reducing the incidence of DKA at diagnosis in diabetic children in our country.