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Diabetic Ketoacidosis Bicarbonate Levels

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Bicarbonate Therapy In Severe Diabetic Ketoacidosis

Twenty-one adult patients with severe diabetic ketoacidosis entered a randomized prospective protocol in which variable doses of sodium bicarbonate, based on initial arterial pH (6.9 to 7.14), were administered to 10 patients (treatment group) and were withheld from 11 patients (control group). During treatment, there were no significant differences in the rate of decline of glucose or ketone levels or in the rate of increase in pH or bicarbonate levels in the blood or cerebrospinal fluid in either group. Similarly, there were no significant differences in the time required for the plasma glucose level to reach 250 mg/dL, blood pH to reach 7.3, or bicarbonate level to reach 15 meq/L. We conclude that in severe diabetic ketoacidosis (arterial pH 6.9 to 7.14), the administration of bicarbonate does not affect recovery outcome variables as compared with those in a control group. Continue reading >>

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Popular Questions

  1. Knicks

    In DKA, the patient is acidotic, right? So why would the body decrease bicarbonate (a base)? Wouldn't you want to keep the bicarbonate high so as to neutralize the acid?
    Too tired to think straight at the moment.

  2. generic

    The HCO3 derangement is not a compensation--it is the primary problem.
    DKA patients have a metabolic acidosis, I think it's mostly caused by the formation of tons and tons of ketone bodies (acidic). These are formed because despite high circulating levels of glucose, the cells can't use the glucose without insulin-->turn to ketone formation instead.
    The metabolic acidosis may cause respiratory compensation, which would give Kussmaul breathing, for example.

  3. treva

    Knicks said: ↑
    In DKA, the patient is acidotic, right? So why would the body decrease bicarbonate (a base)? Wouldn't you want to keep the bicarbonate high so as to neutralize the acid?
    Too tired to think straight at the moment. Remember the kidney takes days to compensate for acidodic state by producing more bicarb. Acutely, the bicarb is used to buffer the extra acid, so it drops.
    This also explains why DKA pts have increased RR:
    CO2 + H20 <--> H2CO3 <--> HCO3- + H+
    If you blow off extra CO2 (ie by upping RR) you shift the above equation to the left, and promote the formation of H2CO3 via CA, helping to mop up the H+.

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