The Incidence of Erosive Esophagitis as a Complication of Pediatric Diabetic Ketoacidosis

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Introduction: Gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms commonly occur during diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) and typically resolve with treatment. However, GI complications can persist after DKA resolves. The incidence of upper GI bleeding during DKA in adults has been described, with erosive esophagitis one of the most common lesions. The incidence of GI bleeding or erosive esophagitis in children with DKA has not been previously reported. We performed a retrospective chart review of DKA admissions in children 0 to <18 years with type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM) at a pediatric hospital between January 2009 and July 2016. Among 395 episodes of DKA over 7.5 years, erosive esophagitis occurred during two DKA admissions (0.5%) and there were no episodes of GI bleeding. Case presentations. Both episodes of erosive esophagitis occurred in adolescent males with known T1DM who presented with severe DKA. Both developed odynophagia after resolution of DKA and were readmitted for DKA recurrence. Upper endoscopy for both patients showed erosive esophagitis. Biopsies were negative for infection, though candida was found during one patient's endoscopy. Both had resolution of their esophagitis symptoms with medication management; neither has had recurrence.

Conclusion: Erosive esophagitis, a rare complication of pediatric DKA, can manifest with odynophagia or substernal chest pain. This complication can lead to DKA recurrence, likely due to increased insulin resistance from inflammation and pain and from reduced oral intake and insulin administration. Patients with odynophagia associated with DKA should be monitored closely to allow timely evaluation and treatment of esophagitis.