The standard recommendation of insulin therapy for patients with DKA is the administration of slow continuous intravenous (IV) regular insulin. Currently subcutaneous insulin is being recommended as an alternative treatment of DKA in mild and moderate cases in resource-limited settings. The purpose of this study was to assess the effectiveness and safety of six-hourly subcutaneous regular insulin use for the treatment of DKA among children with type one diabetes mellitus.
A retrospective cohort study was conducted among 224 DKA episodes which occurred in 161 children who were treated at St. Paul’s Hospital Millennium Medical College in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, from November 2015 to November 2020.
Majority (68.8%) of the episodes occurred in newly diagnosed cases. The median time for urinary ketones clearance was 24 h. DKA severity was found to be the only significant predictor of time to DKA resolution. Only 13 (5.8%) were treated at the pediatric intensive care unit (PICU), and 27 (12.1%) developed complications during management. No death or neurological complications observed.
The six-hourly subcutaneous regular insulin use was found to be safe and effective alternative to slow IV insulin infusion for the treatment of DKA in a non PICU setting. As it resulted in minimum morbidity and no mortality, we recommend its use in the treatment of DKA irrespective of its severity. It can also decrease the health care cost and patients’ inconvenience.

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