Diabetic Ketoacidosis

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]; Associate Editor(s)-in-Chief: Ifrah Fatima, M.B.B.S[2]

Overview

Diabetic ketoacidosis is diagnosed in the presence of symptoms like lethargy, fruity breath, thirst, weight loss, abdominal pain, and Kussmaul breathing and laboratory findings of hyperglycemia (Plasma glucose > 250 mg/dL), anion gap metabolic acidosis (pH < 7.3) and Serum bicarbonate < 15 mEq/L) and ketonemia/ ketonuria. The mainstay of treatment involves aggressive hydration with normal saline, glucose correction with insulin, potassium repletion and correction of acidosis and ketosis.

Causes

The following are the causes of diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA):

Common Causes

Less common causes

Nonadherence to insulin treatment plans:[17][18]

Physiological stressors:

Diagnosis

VARIABLE DIABETIC KETOACIDOSIS
MILD (Plasma Glucose > 250mg/dL or 13.88 mmol/L) MODERATE (Plasma Glucose > 250mg/dL or 13.88 mmol/L) SEVERE (Plasma Glucose > 250mg/dL or 13.88 mmol/L)
Arterial pH 7.25 to 7.30 7.00 to < 7.24 < 7.00
Serum bicarbonate 15 to 18 mEq/L 10 to < 15 mEq/L < 10 mEq/L
Urine ketone (Nitroprusside reaction method) Positive Positive Positive
Serum ketone (Nitroprusside reaction method) Positive Positive Positive
Effective serum osmolality Variable Variable Variable
Anion gap > 10 mEq/L (10 mmol/L) > 12 mEq/L (12 mmol/L) > 12 mEq/L (12 mmol/L)
Mental status Alert Alert/drowsy Stupor/coma

Criteria for resolution

  • According to American Diabetes Association, the following criteria must be met for labeling resolution of DKA:

PLUS

Treatment

Shown below is an algorithm summarizing the treatment of Diabetic ketoacidosis according the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE) guidelines [31] and American Diabetes Association guidelines. [29]

Step-wise approach to management of diabetic ketoacidosis

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
DKA treatment protocol according to ADA guidelines
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Fluids
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Bicarbonate
 
 
 
 
 
 
Insulin
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Potassium
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Hydration status
 
 
 
 
 
 
pH greater than equal to 6.9
 
pH less than 6.9
 
 
0.1 u/kg/B.WT. as IV bolus
 
 
0.14 u/kg/B.WT/hr as continous IV infusion
 
K < 3.3 mEq/L
 
K = 3.3 - 5.2 mEq/L
 
 
K > 5.2 mEq/L
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Severe hypovolemia
 
Mild dehydration
 
Cardiogenic shock
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
0.1 u/kg/B.WT. as IV continous infusion
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Hold insulin and give 20-30mEq/L of potassium until K+ > 3.3mEq/L
 
Give 20-30mEq/L in each liter of IV fluids to maintain serum K 4-5mEq/L
 
 
Do not give potassium but check serum potassium every 2 hours
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
0.9% Nacl (1L/hr) as IV infusion
 
Check corrected serum sodium
 
Hemodynamic monitoring and add pressors accordingly
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
If serum glucose does not fall by 10 % within one hour of therapy then give 0.14 U/Kg as IV bolus and continue previous regimen
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
High serum Na (>145 mEq/L)
 
Normal serum Na (135-145 mEq/L)
 
Low serum Na (< 135 mEq/L)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
When serum glucose drops to 200 mg/dl, reduce regular insulin to 0.02-0.05 U/Kg/hour, or give rapid-acting insulin at 0.1 U/kg SC every 2 hours, maintain serum glucose between 150 mg/dl to,200 mg/dl until resolution
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
0.45% NaCl (250-500 ml per hour depending on hydration status
 
 
 
 
0.9% NaCl (200-500 ml per hour) depending on hydration status
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
When serum glucose decreases to 200 mg/dl, switch to 5% dextrose with 0.45% NaCl at 150-250 ml/hour
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Do's

Don'ts

References

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