Lavik, A, Ebekozien, O, Noor, N, Alonso, G.T, Polsky, S, Blackman, S, Chen, J, Corathers, S, Demeterco-Berggren, C, Gallagher, M.P, Greenfield, M, Garrity, A, Rompicherla, S, Rapaport, S, Yayah Jones, N-H


We examined United States trends in diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) among individuals with type 1 diabetes (T1D) during the COVID-19 pandemic at 7 large US medical centers and factors associated with these trends.


We compared DKA events among children and adults with T1D during COVID-19 surge 1 (March-May 2020) and COVID-19 surge 2 (August-October 2020) to the same periods in 2019. Analysis was performed using descriptive statistics and chi-square tests.


We found no difference in the absolute number of T1D patients experiencing DKA in 2019 vs 2020. However, a higher proportion of non-Hispanic Black (NHB) individuals experienced DKA in 2019 than non-Hispanic White (NHW) individuals (44.6% vs 16.0%; P < .001), and this disparity persisted during the COVID-19 pandemic (48.6% vs 18.6%; P < .001). DKA was less common among patients on continuous glucose monitor (CGM) or insulin pump in 2020 compared to 2019 (CGM: 13.2% vs 15.0%, P < .001; insulin pump: 8.0% vs 10.6%, P < .001). In contrast to annual DKA totals, a higher proportion of patients had DKA during COVID-19 surges 1 and 2 compared to the same months in 2019 (surge 1: 7.1% vs 5.4%, P < .001; surge 2: 6.6% vs 5.7%, P = .001).


DKA frequency increased among T1D patients during COVID-19 surges with highest frequency among NHB patients. DKA was less common among patients using CGM or insulin pumps. These findings highlight the urgent need for improved strategies to prevent DKA among patients with T1D—not only under pandemic conditions, but under all conditions—especially among populations most affected by health inequities.

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