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Diabetic ketoacidosis at the onset of disease during a national awareness campaign: a 2-year observational study in children aged 0–18 years


Objective After a previous survey on the incidence of diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) at onset of type 1 diabetes in children in 2013–2014 in Italy, we aimed to verify a possible decline in the incidence of DKA at onset during a national prevention campaign.

Design Prospective observational study.

Setting Multicentre study throughout Italy.

Intervention National awareness campaign started in November 2015 and held until December 2017.

Patients During 2016 and 2017 we collected data on all patients aged 0–18 years with new-onset diabetes.

Main outcome measures DKA (pH <7.30), severe DKA (pH <7.1), DKA in children below 6 years and DKA treatment according to the Italian Society for Pediatric Endocrinology and Diabetology (ISPED) protocol were evaluated.

Results Records (n=2361) of children with newly diagnosed type 1 diabetes were collected from 58 out of 68 (85.3%) centres of the original survey participants and 100% of the previously surveyed tertiary centres. Overall, DKA was observed in 1124 patients, with an increased rate when compared with the previous survey (47.6% vs 38.5%, p=0.002), and severe DKA in 15.3%. In children below 6 years, DKA was observed in 323 out of 617 (52.5%) and severe DKA in 16.7%; in this age group, occurrence of DKA reduced by 21.3% (p=0.009). DKA treatment according to the ISPED guidelines was adopted in 95% of the centres, with a 27% improvement (p=0.025).

Conclusions During a 2-year awareness campaign, DKA at onset of diabetes in children and adolescents 0–18 years is still common and increased when compared with the 2013–2014 survey.

  • diabetes
  • epidemiology
  • diabetic ketoacidosis

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