Aim: The aim of this study was to investigate diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) and cerebral oedema in the Swedish paediatric diabetes population, and to measure laboratory parameters during treatment.
Methods: The Swedish National Paediatric Diabetes Registry (SWEDIABKIDS) indicates that 16% of patients < 18 years during 2000 to 2004 had DKA at onset of diabetes. Data from 1999 and 2000 was collected retrospectively from all of Sweden by questionnaire.
Results: We identified 292 cases of DKA (pH < 7.30) in 265 children (149 at diabetes onset), aged 0.8-19.9 years. The incidence of DKA in patients with previously diagnosed diabetes was 1.4/100 patient years in 1999 and 1.7/100 in 2000. Two patients, both 11 years old with newly diagnosed diabetes, had overt symptoms of cerebral oedema and one developed neurological sequelae. This corresponds to an incidence of 0.68% (2/292) with no mortality. Symptoms of subclinical cerebral oedema after admission (headache, vomiting, lethargy) were recorded in a further 16 cases. In two of these mannitol was given, and both recovered within 1-2 h. Laboratory data was available from 253/292 episodes. During treatment for DKA, hypokalaemia (< 3.5 mmol/l) was significantly more common at onset of diabetes than in patients with established diabetes (65 vs. 28%, P < 0.001; initial prescription of potassium was 20 mmol/l).
Conclusions: We conclude that 16% of children with new-onset diabetes presented with DKA at diagnosis and that the incidence of DKA in children with established diabetes was 1.6/100 patient years. Cerebral oedema occurred in 0.68% of the DKA episodes.