April 1957

Acidosis and Coma in Juvenile Diabetics

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Research Medicine, University of Pittsburgh, the Renziehausen Memorial Ward and Clinic, and the Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh.

AMA Am J Dis Child. 1957;93(4):341-356. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1957.02060040343001

From published reports, including this one, it might be concluded that the formerly high death rate from acidosis and coma in juvenile diabetics1-3 is reaching the vanishing point.4-11 Such complacency is unjustified. Diabetes mellitus is the eighth cause of death in the 1- to 14-year age group,12 and, though specific diagnoses are not available, it is highly probable that almost all of these deaths occur in acidosis and coma. These isolated fatalities, largely unreported in the pediatric literature, account for the bulk of more than 3000 deaths recorded during the past decade.13 It is reasonable to presume that such deaths are largely preventable. We have reviewed our series of acidosis and coma for principles that might be applicable to these fatalities.

Materials and Methods  Criteria for the diagnosis of diabetic ketosis, acidosis, and coma vary.4-6,10,14,15 To provide objective standards for comparison, we divide our cases

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