Pediatric Diabetic Ketoacidosis With Hyperosmolarity

Clinical Characteristics and Outcomes

Sungeeta Agrawal, MD; Grayson L. Baird, PhD; Jose Bernardo Quintos, MD; Steven E. Reinert, MS; Geetha Gopalakrishnan, MD; Charlotte M. Boney, MD; Lisa Swartz Topor, MD


Endocr Pract. 2018;24(8):726-732. 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction


Objective: Studies of hyperglycemic emergencies with hyperosmolality, including hyperglycemic hyperosmolar state (HHS) and "mixed presentation" with features of diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) and HHS, are lacking in children. Objectives were to determine the incidence of DKA, HHS, and mixed presentation in a pediatric population, to characterize complications, and to assess accuracy of associated diagnosis codes.

Methods: Retrospective cohort study of 411 hyperglycemic emergencies in pediatric patients hospitalized between 2009 and 2014. Hyperglycemic emergency type was determined by biochemical criteria and compared to the associated diagnosis code.

Results: Hyperglycemic emergencies included: 333 DKA, 54 mixed presentation, and 3 HHS. Altered mental status occurred more frequently in hyperosmolar events (P<.0001), and patients with hyperosmolarity had 3.7-fold greater odds of developing complications compared to those with DKA (P = .0187). Of those with DKA, 98.5% were coded correctly. The majority (81.5%) of mixed DKA-HHS events were coded incorrectly. Events coded incorrectly had 3.1-fold greater odds of a complication (P = .02).

Conclusion: A mixed DKA-HHS presentation occurred in 13.8% of characterized hyperglycemic emergencies, whereas HHS remained a rare diagnosis (0.8%) in pediatrics. Hyperosmolar events had higher rates of complications. As treatment of hyperosmolarity differs from DKA, its recognition is essential for appropriate management.