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Increased Incidence of Pediatric Diabetic Ketoacidosis After COVID-19: A Two-Center Retrospective Study in Korea

Authors Han MJ, Heo JH

Received 28 November 2020

Accepted for publication 14 January 2021

Published 22 February 2021 Volume 2021:14 Pages 783—790


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Prof. Dr. Juei-Tang Cheng

Min Jeong Han,1 Jun Ho Heo2

1Department of Pediatrics, Chonbuk National University Hospital, Jeonju, 54907, Korea; 2Department of Emergency Medicine, Wonkwang National University Hospital, Iksan, 54887, Korea

Correspondence: Jun Ho Heo
Department of Emergency Medicine, Wonkwang National University Hospital, 895, Muwang-Ro, Iksan, 54887, Korea
Tel +82-63-8591150
Fax +82-63-8592129

Purpose: We evaluated the clinical characteristics and severity of diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) in children before and after the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak to identify its indirect effects on DKA incidence.
Patients and Methods: This retrospective study included 19 children with DKA admitted to the emergency room (ER) in two centers in Jeonbuk province, Korea during the first 6 months of the year from 2017 to 2020. Data were collected on age, height, body weight, clinical symptoms, diabetic mellitus (DM) type, and laboratory findings. DKA severity was based on the presence of acute kidney injury, cerebrovascular accident, and altered mental status. The ratio of patients with DKA in all pediatric patients who visited the study ERs and in the Jeonbuk population was also determined.
Results: There were no differences in anthropometric characteristics and complication rates between the pre-COVID-19 and COVID-19 periods; however, the rate of polydipsia was significantly higher in the COVID-19 period. All seven patients admitted during the COVID-19 pandemic (100%) had polydipsia and polyuria and were newly diagnosed with DM. The rate of pediatric patients with DKA admitted to the ER in 2020 (0.459%) was more than twice the mean rate of 0.206% for the four-year period. The incidence of DKA in the Jeonbuk population (0.00141%) also exceeded the mean rate (0.0009%).
Conclusion: The incidence of pediatric DKA might be higher due to the indirect effect of COVID-19 pandemic. Physicians should be aware of nonspecific symptoms related to DKA in children admitted to the ER.

Keywords: coronavirus disease 2019, diabetes, diabetic ketoacidosis, pediatric diabetes

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