Background: Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) has been well-known as the main complication that is a potentially fatal emergency in some teenagers with type 1 diabetes mellitus (DM). Although children with diabetes are not at high risk for severe COVID-19 infection, it can hypothetically lead to type 1 DM and severe DKA. The aim of this article is to briefly discuss a case of a teenager with DKA and COVID-19.
Case: A 13 years old girl came in with abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting and dyspnea. She was alert but weak. Her blood pressure was 100/70 mmHg with 120 pulses and 35 breaths per minute. Oxygen saturation was at 99%. History of previous illness was denied. She was treated using a dyspepsia algorithm while waiting for the laboratory result. Later on, the test showed conditions of hyperglycemia, severe acidosis, ketonuria and a positive rapid COVID–19 antibody test. Hence, a diagnosis of DKA with probable COVID–19 was made and PCR for confirmation of COVID-19 diagnosis was scheduled. Oxygen support, rehydration, and insulin therapy were also given with a precautionary condition of possible COVID–19. In minutes, she developed respiratory distress that led her to be intubated and put on a ventilator. Due to a lack of facilities, a referral to a higher-level hospital was needed. However, since the referral process for probable COVID-19 patients required a long preparation, the patient died during the process.
Conclusion: Besides early diagnosis and prompt treatment, a well-coordinated referral system is crucial in managing DKA patients with possible COVID–19.