This longitudinal population-based study analyses the frequency of diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) at type 1 diabetes diagnosis in Italian children under 15 years of age, during 2004-2013. DKA was defined as absent (pH ≥ 7.30), mild/moderate (7.1 ≤ pH < 7.30) and severe (pH < 7.1). Two multiple logistic regression models were used to evaluate the time trend of DKA frequency considered as present versus absent and severe versus absent, adjusted for gender, age group and geographical area of residence at diagnosis. Overall, 9,040 cases were ascertained. DKA frequency was 40.3% (95%CI: 39.3-41.4%), with 29.1% and 11.2% for mild/moderate and severe DKA, respectively. Severe DKA increased significantly during the period (OR = 1.03, 95%CI: 1.003-1.05). Younger-age children and children living in Southern Italy compared to Central Italy were at significantly higher risk of DKA and severe DKA. Family history of type 1 diabetes and residence in Sardinia compared to Central Italy were significantly associated with a lower probability of DKA and severe DKA. The high frequency of ketoacidosis in Italy over time and high variability among age groups and geographical area of residence, strongly suggests a continuing need for nationwide healthcare strategies to increase awareness of early detection of diabetes.
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