Evaluation of a Protocol Change Promoting Lactated Ringers Over Normal Saline in the Treatment of Diabetic Ketoacidosis

Jake Johnson, Andjela Drincic, Emma Buddenhagen, Kaitlyn Nein, Kaeli Samson, Trek Langenhan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Current guidelines recommend normal saline (NS) for fluid resuscitation in the management of patients presenting with diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA). However, previous prospective studies have demonstrated improvement in patient-specific outcomes, including time to DKA resolution, when balanced crystalloid fluids are used. Methods: We conducted a single institution, retrospective cohort study of adult patients admitted with DKA before and after a protocol change within our institution, which shifted the default resuscitative and maintenance fluid in our DKA management protocol from NS to lactated Ringer’s solution (LR). The primary outcome was time from DKA clinical presentation until DKA resolution. The secondary outcome was time to discontinuation of DKA protocol insulin drip. Results: Of 246 patients meeting inclusion criteria, 119 were in the NS group (preprotocol change, where NS was the default resuscitative fluid) and 127 to the LR group (postprotocol change, where LR was the default resuscitative fluid). Time to DKA resolution was significantly decreased in the LR group (mean = 17.1 hours; standard deviation [SD] = 11.0) relative to the NS group (mean = 20.6 hours; SD = 12.2; P =.02). Duration of DKA protocol insulin drip was shorter in the LR group (mean = 16.0 hours; SD = 8.7) compared with the NS group (mean = 21.4 hours; SD = 12.5; P <.001). Conclusions: In this retrospective cohort study, protocolized DKA intravenous fluid management with LR resulted in shorter time to resolution of DKA and reduced duration of DKA protocol insulin drip.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Diabetes Science and Technology
StateAccepted/In press - 2024


  • diabetic ketoacidosis
  • DKA
  • DKA treatment
  • fluid selection DKA
  • lactated ringers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Bioengineering
  • Biomedical Engineering


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