Is HbA1c an Indicator of Diabetic Ketoacidosis Severity in the Pediatric Population? : Pediatric Emergency Care

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Is HbA1c an Indicator of Diabetic Ketoacidosis Severity in the Pediatric Population?

Lamsal, Riwaaj MD; Klyachman, Leslie MD; Adeyinka, Adebayo MD; Kondamudi, Noah MD; Pierre, Louisdon MD

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Pediatric Emergency Care 39(4):p 216-218, April 2023. | DOI: 10.1097/PEC.0000000000002859


Glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1c) reflects how well blood glucose is controlled and is one of the strongest predictors of chronic complications of diabetes mellitus. The degree of acidosis helps determine the severity of diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) (mild: pH 7.2–7.3; moderate: pH 7.1–7.2; severe: pH <7.1) and guides the level of care and predicts outcome. Many studies have implicated that higher HbA1c levels lead to recurrent DKA. However, there is no description of the association of higher HbA1c with the severity of DKA. One hundred thirty-eight electronic medical records of patients aged 1 to 21 years admitted to the pediatric intensive care unit with DKA between 2011 and 2015 were analyzed. We excluded 50 patients because the HbA1c level was not available. Spearman correlation analyzed the data for 88 patients included in the study. The mean HbA1c was 13.3, with female patients having more admissions compared with male patients (58% vs 42%). The age group from 13 to 21 years accounted for 77.3% of the patients. The duration of type 1 diabetes mellitus did not affect the HbA1c level. Likewise, the blood glucose and serum creatinine level did not show a statistical correlation with blood pH levels. Mean HbA1c for mild, moderate, and severe DKA groups were 11.4%, 12.2%, and 14.8%, respectively. Blood pH and HbA1c returned a negative correlation (correlation coefficient, −0.557; P = 0.005). The HbA1c level correlated positively with the 3 groups of DKA (correlation coefficient, 0.595; P = 0.01). A higher A1c was associated with more severe DKA.

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