Effectiveness of low-dose continuous intravenous insulin infusion in diabetic ketoacidosis. A prospective comparative study

J Pediatr. 1977 Nov;91(5):701-5. doi: 10.1016/s0022-3476(77)81018-4.


Twenty pediatric patients with diabetic ketoacidosis were randomly assigned in equal numbers to receive insulin either as a low-dose continuous intravenous infusion or as high-dose intermittent subcutaneous injections. Blood was obtained hourly for determinations of total CO2, plasma glucose, and osmolality, and, in previously untreated patients, plasma insulin. Serum values of beta hydroxybutyrate, electrolytes, and acetone were monitored every two hours. Plasma insulin levels were in the therapeutically effective range with each method of administration. There were no statistically significant differences in rate of correction of ketoacidosis, rate of reduction of plasma glucose, or decline in plasma osmolality. The incidence and the severity of hypokalemia were increased in the patients receiving subcutaneous insulin. There was less variation in the rate of reduction of plasma glucose in the infusion group. Low-dose continuous intravenous infusion of insulin is at least as effective in treating diabetic ketoacidosis as the traditional high-dose intermittent subcutaneous injection of insulin and offers some definite advantages.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Diabetic Ketoacidosis / drug therapy*
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infusions, Parenteral
  • Injections, Subcutaneous
  • Insulin / administration & dosage*
  • Insulin / blood
  • Insulin / therapeutic use
  • Male
  • Osmolar Concentration
  • Potassium / blood
  • Prospective Studies


  • Insulin
  • Potassium