Adherence to a pediatric diabetic ketoacidosis protocol in children presenting to a tertiary care hospital


Ronsley R, Islam N, Ronsley C, Metzger DL, Panagiotopoulos C. Adherence to a pediatric diabetic ketoacidosis protocol in children presenting to a tertiary care hospital. Pediatr Diabetes. 2017;19 (2) :333-338.



To review adherence to a provincial diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) protocol and to assess factors associated with intravenous fluid administration and the length time on an insulin infusion.


A retrospective chart review was conducted of all DKA admissions to British Columbia Children's Hospital (BCCH) during September 2008 to December 2013. Data collection included diabetes history, estimation of dehydration, insulin and fluid infusion rates, and frequency of laboratory investigations. Markers of adherence included appropriate use of a fluid bolus, normal saline and insulin infusion time, fluid intake and outputs, and the frequency of blood work during the insulin infusion. A log-linear regression model was fitted to assess the factors associated with insulin infusion duration.


Of 157 children (median [interquartile range] age: 10.6 years [5.0, 13.8]) hospitalized for DKA, 45% (n = 70) were male, 55% (n = 86) were transferred from other hospitals, and 26% (n = 40) were admitted to intensive care unit. Thirty-five percent of subjects estimated to have mild or moderate dehydration received fluid boluses. In the adjusted analysis, the average duration on DKA protocol was 39% (95% confidence interval [CI]: 12%, 67%) longer for children admitted with severe dehydration (compared to those with mild dehydration).


Health care providers’ adherence to the BCCH DKA protocol is poor. More severe dehydration at presentation is associated with longer duration of insulin infusion. Further knowledge translation initiatives focused on accurate estimation of volume depletion to ensure appropriate initial fluid resuscitation—as well as careful monitoring during DKA hospitalization—are important, especially in community centers.

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Last updated on 08/22/2018