Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) is a potentially life-threatening complication of treatment with some atypical antipsychotic drugs in children and youth. Because drug-associated DKA is rare, large automated health outcomes databases may be a valuable data source for conducting pharmacoepidemiologic studies of DKA associated with exposure to individual antipsychotic drugs. However, no validated computer case definition of DKA exists. We sought to assess the positive predictive value (PPV) of a computer case definition to detect incident cases of DKA, using automated records of Tennessee Medicaid as the data source and medical record confirmation as a "gold standard."The computer case definition of DKA was developed from a retrospective cohort study of antipsychotic-related type 2 diabetes mellitus (1996-2007) in Tennessee Medicaid enrollees, aged 6-24 years. Thirty potential cases with any DKA diagnosis (ICD-9 250.1, ICD-10 E1x.1) were identified from inpatient encounter claims. Medical records were reviewed to determine if they met the clinical definition of DKA.Of 30 potential cases, 27 (90%) were successfully abstracted and adjudicated. Of these, 24 cases were confirmed by medical record review (PPV 88.9%, 95% CI 71.9 to 96.1%). Three non-confirmed cases presented acutely with severe hyperglycemia, but had no evidence of acidosis.Diabetic ketoacidosis in children and youth can be identified in a computerized Medicaid database using our case definition, which could be useful for automated database studies in which drug-associated DKA is the outcome of interest.