Why Is There Hyperkalemia In Diabetic Ketoacidosis?
Lack of insulin, thus no proper metabolism of glucose, ketones form, pH goes down, H+ concentration rises, our body tries to compensate by exchanging K+ from inside the cells for H+ outside the cells, hoping to lower H+ concentration, but at the same time elevating serum potassium. Most people are seriously dehydrated, so are in acute kidney failure, thus the kidneys aren’t able to excrete the excess of potassium from the blood, compounding the problem. On the other hand, many in reality are severely potassium depleted, so once lots of fluid so rehydration and a little insulin is administered serum potassium will plummet, so needs to be monitored 2 hourly - along with glucose, sodium and kidney function - to prevent severe hypokalemia causing fatal arrhythmias, like we experienced decades ago when this wasn’t so well understood yet. In practice, once the patient started peeing again, we started adding potassium chloride to our infusion fluids, the surplus potassium would be peed out by our kidneys so no risk for hyperkalemia. Continue reading >>