Serial optic nerve sheath diameter ultrasonography during pediatric diabetic ketoacidosis management: A pilot study

Gregory Hansen, Jeff K. Vallance, Darcy L. Beer, Ian Clark, Elizabeth A.C. Sellers

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Articlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Objective Intracranial hypertension is an infrequent but serious acute complication of pediatric diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA). Subclinical elevations of intracranial pressures however, may be more common, and can be indirectly evaluated with ultrasonography of the optic nerve sheath diameter (ONSD). In this pilot study, we report serial data on ONSD trajectories from five pediatric patients with DKA to generate hypotheses for future studies. Methods Five pediatric patients with type 1 diabetes presented to our emergency department with DKA and enrolled in our study <3 h after initiation of treatment. Ultrasonographic evaluation of the ONSD was conducted at presentation, every three hours until resolution of acidosis, and finally 24 h post presentation. Following each interval evaluation, a clinical bedside neurologic tool developed for detecting cerebral edema in DKA was utilized. Results Four of the five patients exhibited a similar “bell” shaped trajectory — an increase of ONSD after initiation of treatment followed by a return to admission baseline. Patients demonstrated peak ONSDs nine and twelve hours after DKA therapy was initiated, at resolution of acidosis, and at admission. No children exhibited clinical signs suggestive of cerebral edema. Conclusions Peak ONSDs cannot be reliability determined in children with DKA unless serial investigations are conducted. Practices to mitigate risks for intracranial hypertension may require constant surveillance during DKA management.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1600-1602
Number of pages3
JournalJournal of Diabetes and its Complications
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov. 2016


  • Cerebral edema
  • Diabetic ketoacidosis
  • Elevated intracranial pressure
  • Optic nerve sheath diameter
  • Pediatric
  • Ultrasonography


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