Diabetic Ketoacidosis in Children Before and During COVID-19 Pandemic: A Cross-sectional Study

Background: Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has spread quickly. Comorbidities, such as diabetes, have been determined as critical risk factors for COVID-19. Objectives: This study aimed to determine the frequency and severity of diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) in children before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. Methods: This retrospective study examined children aged less than 18 years diagnosed with DKA hospitalized in Yazd Shahid Sadoughi Hospital from February 20, 2020, to November 21, 2021. The collected information was compared to those obtained during the same period in 2019 (pre-pandemic). According to the inclusion criteria, only children with suspected symptoms of COVID-19 or an infected family member underwent PCR. Results: The study included 70 children with confirmed DKA during the COVID-19 pandemic and 33 children hospitalized during the pre-pandemic period. The findings showed that the rate of DKA was higher during the pandemic than in the pre-pandemic period. In the DKA subgroups (during the COVID-19 pandemic vs. pre-pandemic), 35.7% vs. 21.2% were severe, 37.1% vs. 36.4% were moderate, and 27.1% vs. 42.4% were mild. Of 70 children, 30 underwent PCR tests for COVID-19, showing six positive cases. Among positive cases, five had mild symptoms, while one was hospitalized with signs of respiratory distress, polyuria, and polydipsia. All physical examinations of this patient were normal, except for the chest exam. Conclusions: A remarkable increase was observed in the frequency and severity of DKA in children during the pandemic.