Pediatric Type 1 Diabetes: Reducing Admission Rates for Diabetes Ketoacidosis

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Diabetes ketoacidosis (DKA) is a life-threatening complication of type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM). Reducing DKA admissions in children with T1DM requires a coordinated, comprehensive management plan. We aimed to decrease DKA admissions, 30-day readmissions, and length of stay (LOS) for DKA admissions.


A multipronged intervention was designed in 2011 to reach all patients: (1) increase insulin pump use and basal-bolus regimen versus sliding scales, (2) transform educational program, (3) increased access to medical providers, and (4) support for patients and families. A before-after study was conducted comparing performance outcomes in years 2007-2010 (preintervention) to 2012-2014 (postintervention) using administrative data and Wilcoxon rank sum and Fischer exact tests.


DKA admissions decreased by 44% postintervention (16.7 vs 9.3 per 100 followed patient-years; P = .006), unique patient 30-day readmissions decreased from 20% to 5% postintervention (P = .001), and median LOS significantly decreased postintervention (P < .0001). Although not an original goal of the study, median hemoglobin A1C of a subset of the population transitioned from sliding scale decreased, 10.3% to 8.9% (P < .02).


When clinical and widespread program interventions were used, significant reductions in DKA hospitalizations, 30-day readmissions, and LOS occurred for pediatric T1DM. Continuous performance improvement efforts are needed for improving DKA outcomes.

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