The optimal fluid management for diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) is uncertain. In an effort to simplify DKA therapy, we revised the treatment protocol in our institution to use a simpler method of calculating fluid needs, use fluids with higher sodium concentration, and allow glucose concentration to be adjusted easily. We performed a retrospective study to determine the effects of these revisions.
We compared patients treated with traditional and revised protocols (∼220 and ∼300 patients, respectively, over consecutive 2.75-year intervals). Sixty patient records were randomly selected from the first group (30 treated with each of 2 protocol versions) and 30 from the second group. Biochemical and clinical parameters were analyzed.
Patients selected for detailed analysis were similar in demographics and initial laboratory measurements. Patients treated under the revised fluid protocol received less total fluid, needed fewer intravenous fluid changes, were treated at less cost, and resolved acidosis more rapidly than patients treated under the original protocols. The rate of cerebral edema (0.3%–0.5%) was unchanged.
A DKA protocol that necessitates less fluid delivery and fewer calculations simplifies therapy and is associated with more rapid correction of acidosis.