Health care utilization and burden of diabetic ketoacidosis in the U.S. over the past decade: A nationwide analysis

Dimpi Desai, Dhruv Mehta, Priyanka Mathias, Gopal Menon, Ulrich K. Schubart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

116 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE: Diabetes is one of the most common chronic diseases and a leading cause of morbidity and mortality in the U.S. Although our ability to treat diabetes and its associated complications has significantly improved, presentation with uncontrolled diabetes leading to ketoacidosis remains a significant problem. RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS: We aimed to determine the incidence and costs of hospital admissions associated with diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA). We reviewed the National Inpatient Sample database for all hospitalizations in which DKA (ICD-9 codes 250.10, 250.11, 250.12, and 250.13) was the principal discharge diagnosis during 2003-2014 and calculated the population incidence by using U.S. census data. Patients with ICD-9 codes for diabetic coma were excluded because the codes do not distinguish between hypoglycemic and DKA-related coma. Wethen analyzed changesintemporal trends of incidence, length of stay, costs, and in-hospital mortality by using the Cochrane-Armitage test. RESULTS: There were 1, 760, 101 primary admissions for DKA during the study period. In-hospital mortality for the cohort was 0.4% (n = 7,031). The total number of hospital discharges with the principal diagnosis of DKA increased from 118, 808 in 2003 to 188, 965 in 2014 (P< 0.0001). The length ofstay significantly decreased from an average of 3.64 days in 2003 to 3.24 days in 2014 (P < 0.01). During this period, the mean hospital charges increased significantly from $18, 987 (after adjusting for inflation) per admission in 2003 to $26, 566 per admission in 2014. The resulting aggregate charges (i.e., national bill) for diabetes with ketoacidosis increased dramatically from $2.2 billion (after adjusting for inflation) in 2003 to $5.1 billion in 2014 (P < 0.001). However, there was a significant reduction in mortality from 611 (0.51%) in 2003 to 620 (0.3%) in 2014 (P < 0.01). CONCLUSIONS: Our analysis shows that the population incidence for DKA hospitalizations in the U.S. continues to increase, but the mortality from this condition has significantly decreased, indicating advances in early diagnosis and better inpatient care. Despite decreases in the length of stay, the costs of hospitalizations have increased significantly, indicating opportunities for value-based care intervention in this vulnerable population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1631-1638
Number of pages8
JournalDiabetes care
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2018
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Advanced and Specialized Nursing
  • Internal Medicine
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism


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