Aims/hypothesis: The aim of this study was to investigate the prevalence of fulminant type 1 diabetes and the clinical characteristics of the disease among newly diagnosed Korean patients.
Methods: Using data retrieved from the Seoul National University Hospital database, we identified all patients newly diagnosed with type 1 diabetes from 1 January 1999 to 31 July 2006. Information on clinical manifestations and laboratory data, including the presence of islet autoantibodies detected at diagnosis, were obtained by reviewing medical records.
Results: We identified 99 patients newly diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. Seven patients (7.1%) fulfilled the criteria for fulminant type 1 diabetes. Among the patients aged > or =18 years at onset, 30.4% had fulminant type 1 diabetes. Patients with this diabetes subtype tested negative for islet autoantibodies, had a higher age of onset (median 28 vs 10 years, p < 0.001) and a markedly shorter duration from onset of hyperglycaemic symptoms to first hospital visit (median 3 vs 30 days, p < 0.001) than patients with non-fulminant type 1 diabetes, and showed trends of increased serum aspartate aminotransferase and amylase levels and a decreased glucagon-stimulated serum C-peptide response.
Conclusions/interpretation: In Korea, the prevalence of fulminant type 1 diabetes was 7.1% among all patients newly diagnosed with type 1 diabetes and 30.4% among patients with adult-onset diabetes. The clinical and metabolic characteristics of the patients with fulminant type 1 diabetes were similar to those reported in Japanese studies.