Insulin-induced edema in a pediatric patient - clinical case


  • Catarina Ferraz de Liz Department of Pediatric and Neonatology, Centro Hospitalar do Tâmega e Sousa
  • Joaquim Cunha Department of Pediatric and Neonatology, Centro Hospitalar do Tâmega e Sousa
  • Susana Lira Department of Pediatric and Neonatology, Centro Hospitalar do Tâmega e Sousa



children and adolescents, complication, diabetes mellitus type 1, insulin, edema


Introduction: Insulin edema is a rare condition associated with improved glycemic control shortly after diabetes diagnosis or following a period of insulin omission. Clinical findings range from mild edema to severe heart failure and pleural effusion. Diagnosis is clinical and other edema causes should be excluded. Since it is a self-limited condition, there is no need to modify insulin regimen. In more severe cases, diuretic therapy may be required.
Clinical case: A 14-year-old female was brought to the Emergency Department due to weight gain and leg swelling with three days of evolution. She had been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of nine. The girl had poor metabolic control which led to multiple hospitalizations, the last one occurring the week before with a glycated hemoglobin higher than 15%. In physical examination, lower limb edema and a 7-kg weight gain were noted. No jugular vein distension, hepatomegaly, or other forms of edema were found. The girl was hemodynamically stable, with diuresis within the normal range. Analytical study consisting of hemogram, ionogram (sodium and potassium), and renal and hepatic function was normal. Urine analysis revealed glycosuria and chest x-ray showed no abnormalities. The diagnosis of insulin-induced edema was established and water and saline restriction recommended, with total symptom resolution three weeks later.
Conclusion: Despite rare, clinicians should be aware of this condition, as most cases do not require modifying the insulin regimen.


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How to Cite

Ferraz de Liz C, Cunha J, Lira S. Insulin-induced edema in a pediatric patient - clinical case. REVNEC [Internet]. 2020Mar.24 [cited 2024Apr.19];29(1):43-6. Available from:



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