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This article is the author's final published version in Pediatric Diabetes, Volume 2023, 2023, Article number 6693226.

The published version is available at Copyright Copyright © 2023 Lise E. Nigrovic et al.



Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) is a potentially life-threatening complication of childhood diabetes. However, the influence of demographic factors on presentation are not well-defined.


We included children from 12 centers who were <18 years with DKA (glucose > 300 mg/dL, serum pH < 7.25, or serum bicarbonate <15 mEq/L) enrolled in the Pediatric Emergency Care Applied Research Network (PECARN) Fluid Therapies Under Investigation in DKA (FLUID) Trial. Data were also collected for children who presented to the centers during the enrollment period but were not enrolled due to disease or treatment-related reasons. We compared demographic, clinical, and biochemical findings among children with newly and previously diagnosed diabetes and children in different age groups.


Of the 1,679 DKA episodes in 1,553 children, 799 (47.5%) episodes occurred in children with newly diagnosed diabetes and 396 (23.6%) were severe (pH < 7.1). Newly diagnosed children <6 years of age were not more likely to have severe DKA in terms of pH, but had more severe hypocarbia and higher blood urea nitrogen levels, factors previously associated with the risk of cerebral injury. Lower socioeconomic status (SES) (based on family income and maternal education level) were associated with more severe DKA in new onset children, and recurrent DKA in the previously diagnosed children.


Greater efforts are needed to identify the children with diabetes early and to prevent recurrent DKA, particularly among children in low-SES groups. Young children with DKA may need more intensive monitoring due to higher risk of cerebral injury.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.