UMEM Educational Pearls

Category: Pediatrics

Title: Pediatric DKA (submitted by Anthony Roggio, MD)

Keywords: diabetic ketoacidosis, DKA (PubMed Search)

Posted: 3/27/2015 by Mimi Lu, MD
Click here to contact Mimi Lu, MD

ISPAD (International Society for Pediatric and Adolescent Diabetes) Updated their Guidelines for Pediatric Diabetic Ketoacidosis (DKA) in 2014



·       Begin fluid repletion with 10-20ml/kg of 0.9% NS over 1-2 hours

·       Estimate losses (mild DKA <5%, moderate 5-7%, severe ~10%) and replete evenly over 48 hours

o   Use NS, Ringers or Plasmalyte for 4-6 hours

o   Afterwards use any crystalloid, tonicity at least 0.45% NaCl

·       Add 5% glucose to IV fluid when glucose falls below 250-300mg/dL



·       No bolus

·       Low dose 0.05 - 0.1U/kg/hr AFTER initiating fluid therapy

o   higher incidence of cerebral edema in patients given insulin in 1st hour

·       Short acting subQ insulin lispro or aspart can be substituted for drip in uncomplicated mild DKA

·       Give long acting subQ insulin at least 2 hours before stopping infusion to prevent rebound



·       If K low (< 3.3): add 40mmol/L with bolus IV fluids (20mmol/L if rate > 10ml/kg/hr)

·       if K normal (3.3-5): add 40mmol/L when insulin is started

·       If K high (> 5):  add 40mEq/L after urine output is documented



·       No role for bicarbonate in treatment of Pediatric DKA

o   No benefit, possibility of harm (paradoxical CNS acidosis) 


Wolfsdorf JI, Allgrove J, Craig ME, et al. Diabetic ketoacidosis and hyperglycemic hyperosmolar state. Pediatr Diabetes. 2014;15 Suppl 20:154-79.