Diabetes is the most common pediatric endocrine disorder, and diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) is the leading cause of diabetes-related morbidity and mortality. This article reviews pediatric DKA treatment protocols from across Canada and identifies similarities and differences.
Pediatric tertiary centres in Canada were asked for a copy of their DKA treatment protocol. For each protocol, we collected information on the amount of initial fluid bolus, maintenance fluid rate, insulin infusion rate, potassium replacement, monitoring and adjustment for serum glucose, administration of bicarbonate, and treatment for cerebral edema.
Responses were obtained from 13 sites. Treatment guidelines were consistent in their recommendations on timing and dosage of intravenous insulin, potassium replacement, monitoring and adjusting for serum glucose, and management of cerebral edema. Variability in treatment protocols was found chiefly in volume of initial fluid bolus (range: 5–20 mL/kg) and length of time boluses should be administered (20–120 min), maintenance fluid rates (based on weight or a 48-hr deficit), and the role of bicarbonate administration.
This is the first review of treatment protocols for pediatric DKA in Canada. It identified many common approaches but noted specific differences in fluid boluses, maintenance fluid rates, and bicarbonate administration. The extent of variation indicates the need for further study, as well as national guidelines that are evidence-based and consistent with best practices.