The Impact of COVID-19 Lockdown on the Incidence of Type 1 DM and the Glycemic Control of Diabetic Children: Findings from a Teaching Hospital, Saudi Arabia

Article View

The Review of Diabetic Studies,2022,18,3,152-156.
Published:September 2022
Type:Research Article
Author(s) affiliations:

Mohammad Hussain Al-Qahtani1, Fatimah Mousa Bukhamseen2, Aqilah Taleb Al-Qassab2, Abdullah Abdulsalam Yousef1, Bassam Hassan Awary1, Waleed Hamad Albuali1, Zainab Mohammed Alkhalifa3, Haneen Abdulsalam Yousef4

1Department of Pediatrics, College of Medicine, Imam Abdulrahman Bin Faisal University, Dammam, Saudi Arabia,

2College of Medicine, Imam Abdulrahman Bin Faisal University, Dammam, Saudi Arabia,

3Pediatric Endocrine Fellow, Eastern Health Cluster, Dammam, Saudi Arabia,

4Department of Family Medicine, College of Medicine, Imam Abdulrahman Bin Faisal university, Dammam, Saudi Arabia.


OBJECTIVE: We evaluated glycemic control among T1DM pediatric patients attending the endocrinology pediatrics clinics at King Fahd Hospital of the University (KFHU) prior to and during COVID-19 restraining regulations. In addition, we assessed the trends and variations in the incidence of T1DM during 2017-2021, including the COVID-19 years by identifying newly diagnosed patients presenting to pediatrics emergency department (ED) in KFHU. METHODS: To estimate the effect of COVID-19 on the incidence of T1DM, we identified newly diagnosed cases of T1DM among pediatric patients attending the ED during the years 2017- 2021. The participants’ data were collected through electronic medical records. Information collected included patient age, sex, and HbA1c readings. Three HbA1c readings of interest that were defined and collected are pre-COVID reading, in-COVID reading, and post-COVID reading. RESULTS: The difference of female participants’ readings was statistically non-significant (Z= -0.416, p = 0.678), with a pre- and post-COVID median of 10.70 (Q1= 9.00, Q3= 12.15), and 10.50 (Q1= 8.80, Q3= 12.35), respectively. In contrast, the difference was statistically significant among male participants (Z= -2.334, p = 0.02), with a pre- and post-COVID median of 10.20 (Q1= 8.70, Q3= 11.80), and 10.65 (Q1= 9.00, Q3= 12.70), respectively. There was a statistically significant increase in HbA1c of persons > 11 years old (Z= -2.471, p= 0.013), with a pre- and post-COVID median of 10.40 (Q1= 9.00, Q3= 12.10), and 10.90 (Q1= 9.00, Q3= 12.60), respectively. Conversely, persons ≤ 11 years old showed no statistically significant change in HbA1c (Z= -.457, p= 0.648), with a pre- and post-COVID median of 10.45 (Q1= 8.70, Q3= 11.85), and 10.20 (Q1= 8.40, Q3= 12.075), respectively. Disregarding any influence of time, the effect of sex showed no statistically significant difference in HbA1c between males and females [F (1,125) = 0.008, p = 0.930]. Meanwhile, the age effect on HbA1c, regardless of time influence, was statistically significant [F (1,125) = 4.993, p = 0.027]. There was no statistically significant interaction between time and sex on HbA1c levels [F (1.74, 217) = 0.096, p = 0.883] and between age and time [F (3.92,289.57) = 1.693, p = 0.190]. CONCLUSIONS: The number of visits to healthcare facilities dropped significantly during the COVID-19 pandemic, but the rate of newly diagnosed T1DM increased. There was a variable effect on HbA1c levels of those patients, which suggests that each demographic group in the population might have been affected differently by the pandemic. Future research should determine factors associated with better glycemic control and measures to sustain these changes the pandemic might have created.