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SAMJ: South African Medical Journal

On-line version ISSN 2078-5135
Print version ISSN 0256-9574


THOMAS, S; MOHAMED, N A  and  BHANA, S. Audit of diabetic ketoacidosis management at a tertiary hospital in Johannesburg, South Africa. SAMJ, S. Afr. med. j. [online]. 2019, vol.109, n.6, pp.407-411. ISSN 2078-5135.

BACKGROUND. Continuous intravenous infusion (CII) of insulin is the preferred method of treating diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) worldwide, especially in patients with severe DKA. There is limited evidence evaluating low-dose bolus intravenous (IV) insulin management of DKA out of the intensive care unit (ICU). OBJECTIVES. To conduct an audit of patients admitted with DKA, who were managed with bolus IV insulin at the medical acute-care unit (MACU), Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital (CHBAH), Johannesburg, South Africa, over a 4-month period to evaluate whether this is an effective treatment modality, as well as assess patient, disease and management characteristics related to the admissions. Methods. A prospective cross-sectional cohort study was done, interviewing 69 DKA patients from 1 September to 31 December 2017, and collecting relevant biochemical results from their hospital records. The current management protocol at CHBAH was observed, i.e. insulin therapy administered hourly as 10 IU IV insulin. The time to resolution of DKA, complications and deaths were recorded. RESULTS. Our cohort was predominantly male (60.56%), with an average age of 36 years. All patients were successfully treated with bolus IV insulin, with an average time to resolution of 21 hours. DKA was categorised as mild (19.72%), moderate (50.7%) and severe (29.58). Most patients presented with raised inflammatory markers (64.79%) and some degree of renal impairment (>60%). Complications occurred in 9 patients (12.68%); 7 of these were related to factors precipitating the DKA admission. No deaths occurred. The only factor predicting a longer time to resolution was severity, with an odds ratio of 4.89 (confidence interval 1.04 - 22.84; p=0.044). CONCLUSIONS. Outcomes are favourable, with bolus IV insulin being used as the treatment modality in patients with mild, moderate and severe DKA at CHBAH. Further studies are needed to corroborate these results in other centres.

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