Background: Although DKA has been traditionally managed in intensive care units (ICU) , some studies suggest that DKA can be safely treated in non-critical care areas.

Objective: To compare safety & efficacy of a DKA IV insulin protocol in ICU with stepdown unit (SDU) .

Methods: A retrospective chart review of all DKA patients (Age >yrs) admitted to ICU (N=45) & SDU (N=23) from January 20to August 2020. The admission to SDU was based on our hospital protocol (pH>7.2 without organ failure) . We analyzed the compliance to the DKA protocol (Table) and adverse outcomes. Mann-Whitney U & Chi-square/Fishers exact tests were used to compare continuous & categorical variables respectively.

Results: ICU & SDU groups were demographically similar: mean age (36.2 ± 15.2 vs. 37.6 ± 18.9 yrs) , sex (F 67% vs. 70%) & BMI (21.2 vs. 21.8 kg/m2) . As expected, ICU group had severe DKA as compared to SDU group with higher mean BG & lower mean serum Bicarb (p<0.05) . There was a trend towards stricter adherence to protocol in ICU. Length of stay (78 vs. 63 hrs) , hypoglycemia (9 vs. 13) , reoccurrence of DKA within 72 hrs (8 vs. 4.3) & 30-day readmission (53% vs. 65.2%) were similar in both groups (p>0.05) .

Conclusions: Our study suggested that a DKA IV insulin can be safely managed in SDU in selected patients, which can help avoid ICU overcrowding. The observed trend toward less strict compliance with the DKA protocol can be overcome with nurse education and optimal nurse to patient ratio.


T.Ahmad: None. N.Mehrotra: None. W.Ali: None. D.Ren: None. J.Arnold: None. M.T.Korytkowski: None. S.Mon: None.

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