Non-Hispanic Black Patients More Likely to Have Diabetic Ketoacidosis, in 2019

The disparity was observed in 2019 and persisted during the pandemic in 2020.

Ketoacidosis: Non-Hispanic Black individuals with type 1 diabetes (T1D) are more likely to have diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA), and this disparity was seen in 2019 and persisted during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, according to a study published online in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

Andrew R. Lavik, M.D., Ph.D., from the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, and colleagues compared DKA events among children and adults with T1D at seven large U.S. medical centers during COVID-19 surges 1 and 2 (March 2020 to May 2020 and August 2020 to October 2020) to the same periods in 2019.

The researchers found that in 2019 versus 2020, there was no difference in the absolute number of T1D patients experiencing DKA. However, in 2019, the proportion of patients undergoing DKA was higher for non-Hispanic Black individuals than non-Hispanic White individuals (44.6 versus 16.0 percent). This disparity persisted in 2020 during the pandemic (48.6 versus 18.6 percent).

Compared with 2019, in 2020, DKA was less common among patients on continuous glucose monitors (13.2 versus 15.0 percent) or insulin pumps (8.0 versus 10.6 percent). The proportion of patients with diabetes type 1 during COVID-19 surges 1 and 2 was higher than during the same months in 2019 (surge 1: 7.1 versus 5.4 percent; surge 2: 6.6 versus 5.7 percent).

“Our work shows racial inequities in diabetes care were present before the pandemic, starkly visible during the pandemic, and will continue to persist after the pandemic — unless we systemically root out and target racial inequities in diabetes care,” Lavik said in a statement.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical and medical device industries.

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