Hyperkalemia In Diabetic Ketoacidosis.
Abstract Patients with diabetic ketoacidosis tend to have somewhat elevated serum K+ concentrations despite decreased body K+ content. The hyperkalemia was previously attributed mainly to acidemia. However, recent studies have suggested that "organic acidemias" (such as that produced by infusing beta-hydroxybutyric acid) may not cause hyperkalemia. To learn which, if any, routinely measured biochemical indices might correlate with the finding of hyperkalemia in diabetic ketoacidosis, we analyzed the initial pre-treatment values in 131 episodes in 91 patients. Serum K+ correlated independently and significantly (p less than 0.001) with blood pH (r = -0.39), serum urea N (r = 0.38) and the anion gap (r = 0.41). The mean serum K+ among the men was 5.55 mmol/l, significantly higher than among the women, 5.09 mmol/l (p less than 0.005). Twelve of the 16 patients with serum K+ greater than or equal to 6.5 mmol/l were men, as were all eight patients with serum K+ greater than or equal to 7.0 mmol/l. Those differences paralleled a significantly higher mean serum urea N concentration among the men (15.1 mmol/l) than the women (11.2 mmol/l, p less than 0.01). The greater tendency to hyperkal Continue reading >>