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May 2021

DKA cases rising in Scotland



A nationwide study has revealed widening inequalities in type 1 diabetes care across Scotland. The study, funded by Diabetes UK, revealed that cases of life-threatening diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) have been steadily increasing since 2004, with those from socially deprived areas most likely to be hospitalised or die as a result.

Researchers used national records to track people with a diagnosis of type 1 diabetes from 2004 until 2018. They investigated how many were admitted to hospital and/or died as a result of DKA (‘DKA events’) over the 14-year period.

The team found that among the 37,939 people with type 1 diabetes identified, over a quarter (27%) experienced a DKA event. In total, 30,427 DKA hospital admissions and 472 deaths were recorded from 2004 to 2018. Of those who were treated for DKA in hospital, 45% experienced at least one additional DKA event.

Rates of deaths from DKA were found to be more than twice as high in 2018 compared to 2004, from 95 to 204 deaths per 100,000 person years.

People living in more socially deprived areas had higher rates of DKA hospitalisations and deaths throughout the study period than those from less socially deprived areas.

Practice Nurse 2021;51(4):8