Management of Diabetic Ketoacidosis in Children and Adolescents with Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus

Paediatr Drugs. 2020 Aug;22(4):357-367. doi: 10.1007/s40272-020-00397-0.


Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) is the end result of insulin deficiency in type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1D). Loss of insulin production leads to profound catabolism with increased gluconeogenesis, glycogenolysis, lipolysis, and muscle proteolysis causing hyperglycemia and osmotic diuresis. High levels of counter-regulatory hormones lead to enhanced ketogenesis and the release of 'ketone bodies' into the circulation, which dissociate to release hydrogen ions and cause an overwhelming acidosis. Dehydration, hyperglycemia, and ketoacidosis are the hallmarks of this condition. Treatment is effective repletion of insulin, fluids and electrolytes. Newer approaches to early diagnosis, treatment, and prevention may diminish the risk of DKA and its childhood complications including cerebral edema. However, the potential for some technical and pharmacologic advances in the management of T1D to increase DKA events must be recognized.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / complications*
  • Diabetic Ketoacidosis / diagnosis
  • Diabetic Ketoacidosis / therapy*
  • Fluid Therapy
  • Humans
  • Insulin / metabolism*


  • Insulin