Life-saving decompressive craniectomy for diffuse cerebral edema during an episode of new-onset diabetic ketoacidosis: Case report and review of the literature

Ha Son Nguyen, James D. Callahan, Aaron A. Cohen-Gadol

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations

Abstract

Purpose: Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA), a well-known complication of diabetes mellitus, is associated with severe diffuse cerebral edema leading to brain herniation and death. Survival from an episode of symptomatic cerebral edema has been associated with debilitating neurological sequelae, including motor deficits, visual impairment, memory loss, seizures, and persistent vegetative states. A review of the literature reveals scant information regarding the potential surgical options for these cases. The authors present their case in which they used a craniectomy to treat this life-threatening condition. Methods: After reportedly suffering nausea and vomiting, a 12-year-old male presented to the emergency room with lethargy and was diagnosed with acute DKA. After appropriate treatment, the patient became comatose. A CT scan revealed diffuse cerebral edema. To decrease intracranial pressure and prevent further progression of brain herniation, a bifrontal decompressive craniectomy with duraplasty was performed. Results: The patient's neurological function gradually improved, and he returned to school and his regular activities with only minimal cognitive deficits. Conclusion: Given the high mortality and morbidity associated with DKA-related edema, we believe decompressive craniectomy should be considered for malignant cerebral edema and herniation syndrome.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)657-664
Number of pages8
JournalChild's Nervous System
Volume27
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1 2011

Keywords

  • Cerebral edema
  • Craniectomy
  • Diabetic ketoacidosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Clinical Neurology

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