Emergency Department Visits for Children

HCUP Statistical Brief, No. 203

Diabetes is an important public health concern in the United States, affecting an estimated 29.1 million people, or 9.3 percent of the population. Among children and young adults, diabetes is one of the most common chronic diseases, and prevalence increases with age. Recent data estimate that 208,000 people under the age of 20 years have a diagnosis of diabetes. In 2011, of adults newly diagnosed with diabetes, 4.3 percent were aged 18-29 years.

In both children and adults, diabetes is optimally managed in the outpatient setting. However, the emergency department (ED) represents a point of health care access for those with acute symptoms related to chronic conditions. A large number of ED visits are nonurgent and potentially preventable with optimal access to quality primary care. Patients presenting to the ED can be treated and released or admitted to the hospital.

Emergency Department Visits for Children and Young Adults With Diabetes, a statistical brief from the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project, presents 2012 data on diabetes-related ED visits among children and young adults aged 0-29 years. Variations in overall ED visits, treat-and-release ED visits, and ED visits, resulting in hospital admission are presented by demographic, regional, and payer characteristics, and diagnostic-specific differences are also presented.


  • In 2012, 587,300 diabetes-related ED visits were for children and young adults aged 0-29 years. Most of these patients were treated and released (76.5 percent), and the remaining 23.5 percent were admitted to the hospital.
  • Diabetes-related ED visit rates were higher among young adults aged 18-29 years (905 per 100,000 U.S. population) compared with children aged 0-17 years (149 per 100,000 U.S. population).
  • edicaid was the primary expected payer for 40 percent of diabetes-related ED visits.
  • Ketoacidosis was the most common complication among children and young adults in the ED with uncontrolled diabetes, accounting for approximately one out of seven diabetes-related ED visits in this age group.
  • One out of five diabetes-related ED visits by children, and young adults was coded as uncontrolled diabetes, and over two-thirds of these visits resulted in hospital admission.

Select to access Emergency Department Visits for Children and Young Adults With Diabetes.

Page last reviewed April 2016
Internet Citation: Emergency Department Visits for Children. April 2016. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD. http://www.ahrq.gov/news/hcup.html