Severe ketoacidosis doubled during COVID-19 period in diabetic children: Study
Canada: The researchers in a recent study observed a significant increase in severe diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) among children presenting with new-onset type 1 diabetes during the COVID-19 pandemic period.
The findings of the study, published in the journal Pediatric Diabetes, stresses the need for educating families and health care professionals of hyperglycemia symptoms and the importance of early diagnosis and treatment even during public health measures for COVID-19.
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has called for significant public health measures that in turn have decreased acute pediatric care utilization. DKA is a potentially life-threatening, severe presentation of diabetes that can lead to significant morbidity in children but is preventable. Manpreet Doulla, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, and colleagues aimed to evaluate whether the rate of severe presentations of new-onset type 1 diabetes, such as diabetic ketoacidosis has changed since the COVID‐19 public health measures were enacted.
For this purpose, the researchers conducted a retrospective chart review of children less than 18 years of age presenting with new-onset type 1 diabetes during the pandemic period of March 17, 2020, to August 31, 2020 at two tertiary care pediatric hospitals in Alberta, Canada. Severe DKA and DKA rates were compared to the same time period in the year 2019 (pre‐pandemic control).
Key findings of the study include:
- The number of children presenting with newly diagnosed DM1 was similar during the pandemic year of 2020 compared with 2019 (107 children in 2020 vs. 114 in 2019).
- The frequency of DKA at DM1 onset was significantly higher in the pandemic period (68.2% vs 45.6%) and incidence of severe DKA was also higher (27.1% in 2020 vs 13.2% in 2019).
"Our findings show that during the COVID‐19 pandemic period, there was a significant increase in DKA and severe DKA in children presenting with new-onset type 1 diabetes," wrote the authors. "This emphasizes the need for educating health care professionals and families to be aware of the symptoms of hyperglycemia and the importance of early diagnosis and treatment even during public health measures for COVID‐19."
The study titled, "Diabetic ketoacidosis at type 1 diabetes diagnosis in children during the COVID‐19 pandemic," is published in the journal Pediatric Diabetes.