Aims Young people in Russia with diabetes have an increased morbidity and a 10-fold increase in mortality compared with many European countries. This joint international study was set up to compare of care and outcomes against published guidelines in three Russian centres and one UK centre.
Methods An assessment of the diabetic care of 368 children, based on the principles of the St Vincent Declaration, was undertaken in each centre. Data on prevalence, management, control and complications were collected in young people with diabetes < 16 years of age in each of the four centres over a 4-week period.
Results The prevalence of diabetes was greater in Southampton (1 : 702 vs. 1 : 1378). At diagnosis Russian children had a higher incidence of ketoacidosis (69 vs. 29%) and stayed in hospital longer (30 vs. 3 days). In management Russian children received more injections per day (5 vs. 2). There was no significant difference in insulin dose for those under 10 years between countries (Southampton 0.69 U/kg vs. Russian 0.73 U/kg, P = NS). Older Russian children did not increase their insulin dosage, while children over 10 years in Southampton received significantly more insulin than the Russian children (Southampton 1.0 U/kg vs. Russian 0.77 U/kg, P ≤ 0.001). Twenty-nine per cent of the Russian children reported that they had insufficient insulin and 14% had to buy extra. HbA1c was higher in the Russian children (9.8% vs. 8.3%), increasing significantly with age. The Russian children showed a height deficit which correlated with HbA1c and diabetes duration. The Southampton children were heavier and with a higher body-mass index and their HbA1c did not rise similarly as in Russia. Severe hypoglycaemia was more common in the Southampton children (32 vs. 12%). Retinopathy was reported in 12% of the Russian children (Southampton 0%) and systolic blood pressure > 95th centile in 21% (Southampton 8%).
Conclusions This study demonstrates a significant difference in diabetic control and complications between the two countries which could be partially explained by a decreased availability and prescribing of insulin and blood glucose monitoring in Russia. Southampton has an education and management policy based on ambulatory care resulting in reduced hospital stay.