Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) is a potentially life-threatening complication of diabetes mellitus. Signs and symptoms may include vomiting, abdominal pain, deep gasping breathing, increased urination, weakness, confusion, and occasionally loss of consciousness. A person's breath may develop a specific smell. Onset of symptoms is usually rapid. In some cases people may not realize they previously had diabetes. DKA happens most often in those with type 1 diabetes, but can also occur in those with other types of diabetes under certain circumstances. Triggers may include infection, not taking insulin correctly, stroke, and certain medications such as steroids. DKA results from a shortage of insulin; in response the body switches to burning fatty acids which produces acidic ketone bodies. DKA is typically diagnosed when testing finds high blood sugar, low blood pH, and ketoacids in either the blood or urine. The primary treatment of DKA is with intravenous fluids and insulin. Depending on the severity, insulin may be given intravenously or by injection under the skin. Usually potassium is also needed to prevent the development of low blood potassium. Throughout treatment blood sugar and potassium levels should be regularly checked. Antibiotics may be required in those with an underlying infection. In those with severely low blood pH, sodium bicarbonate may be given; however, its use is of unclear benefit and typically not recommended. Rates of DKA vary around the world. In the United Kingdom, about 4% of people with type 1 diabetes develop DKA each year, while in Malaysia the condition affects about 25% a year. DKA was first described in 1886 and, until the introduction of insulin therapy in the 1920s, it was almost univ Continue reading >>
Author: Osama Hamdy, MD, PhD; Chief Editor: Romesh Khardori, MD, PhD, FACP more... Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) is an acute, major, life-threatening complication of diabetes that mainly occurs in patients with type 1 diabetes, but it is not uncommon in some patients with type 2 diabetes. This condition is a complex disordered metabolic state characterized by hyperglycemia, ketoacidosis, and ketonuria. The most common early symptoms of DKA are the insidious increase in polydipsia and polyuria. The following are other signs and symptoms of DKA: Malaise, generalized weakness, and fatigability Nausea and vomiting; may be associated with diffuse abdominal pain, decreased appetite, and anorexia Rapid weight loss in patients newly diagnosed with type 1 diabetes History of failure to comply with insulin therapy or missed insulin injections due to vomiting or psychological reasons or history of mechanical failure of insulin infusion pump Altered consciousness (eg, mild disorientation, confusion); frank coma is uncommon but may occur when the condition is neglected or with severe dehydration/acidosis Signs and symptoms of DKA associated with possible intercurrent infection are as follows: Glaser NS, Marcin JP, Wootton-Gorges SL, et al. Correlation of clinical and biochemical findings with diabetic ketoacidosis-related cerebral edema in children using magnetic resonance diffusion-weighted imaging. J Pediatr. 2008 Jun 25. [Medline] . Umpierrez GE, Jones S, Smiley D, et al. Insulin analogs versus human insulin in the treatment of patients with diabetic ketoacidosis: a randomized controlled trial. Diabetes Care. 2009 Jul. 32(7):1164-9. [Medline] . [Full Text] . Herrington WG, Nye HJ, Hammersley MS, Watkinson PJ. Are arterial and venous samples clinically equivalent for the estimation Continue reading >>
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 >>
Severe Hyperkalaemia In Association With Diabetic Ketoacidosis In A Patient Presenting With Severe Generalized Muscle Weakness
Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) is an acute, life‐threatening metabolic complication of diabetes mellitus. Hyperglycaemia, ketosis (ketonaemia or ketonuria) and acidosis are the cardinal features of DKA . Other features that indicate the severity of DKA include volume depletion, acidosis and concurrent electrolyte disturbances, especially abnormalities of potassium homeostasis [1,2]. We describe a type 2 diabetic patient presenting with severe generalized muscle weakness and electrocardiographic evidence of severe hyperkalaemia in association with DKA and discuss the related pathophysiology. A 65‐year‐old male was admitted because of impaired mental status. He was a known insulin‐treated diabetic on quinapril (20 mg once daily) and was taking oral ampicillin 500 mg/day because of dysuria which had started 5 days prior to admission. He was disoriented in place and time with severe generalized muscle weakness; he was apyrexial (temperature 36.4°C), tachycardic (120 beats/min) and tachypneic (25 respirations/min) with cold extremities (supine blood pressure was 100/60 mmHg). An electrocardiogram (ECG) showed absent P waves, widening of QRS (‘sine wave’ in leads I, II, V5 and V6), depression of ST segments and tall peaked symmetrical T waves in leads V3–V6 (Figure 1). Blood glucose was 485 mg/dl, plasma creatinine 5.1 mg/dl (reference range (r.r.) 0.6–1.2 mg/dl, measured by the Jaffe method), urea 270 mg/dl (r.r. 11–54 mg/dl), albumin 4.2 g/dl (r.r. 3.4–4.7 g/dl), sodium 136 mmol/l (r.r. 135–145 mmol/l), chloride 102 mmol/l (r.r. 98–107 mmol/l), potassium 8.3 mmol/l (r.r. 3.5–5.4 mmol/l), phosphorus 1.6 mmol/l (r.r. 0.8–1.45 mmol/l) and magnesium 0.62 mmol/l (r.r. 0.75–1.25 mmol/l). A complete blood count revealed leukocytosis (12 090/µl with Continue reading >>
Hyperkalemia In Diabetic Ketoacidosis - Sciencedirect
Volume 299, Issue 3 , March 1990, Pages 164-169 Author links open overlay panel MilfordFulopMD Get rights and content 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 < 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/ 1, significantly higher than among the women, 5.09 mmol/1 (p < 0.005). Twelve of the 16 patients with serum K+ 6.5 mmol/1 were men, as were all eight patients with serum K+ 7.0 mmol/1. Those differences paralleled a significantly higher mean serum urea N concentration among the men (15.1 mmol/1) than the women (11.2 mmol/1, p < 0.01). The greater tendency to hyperkalemia among the men in this series may have been due partly to their greater renal dysfunction during the acute illness. However, other factors that were not assessed, such as cell K+ release associated with protein catabolism, and insulin deficiency per se, may also have affected serum K+ in these patients. Continue reading >>
Diabetic Ketoacidosis Producing Extreme Hyperkalemia In A Patient With Type 1 Diabetes On Hemodialysis
Hodaka Yamada1, Shunsuke Funazaki1, Masafumi Kakei1, Kazuo Hara1 and San-e Ishikawa2 Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Jichi Medical University Saitama Medical Center, Saitama, Japan  Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, International University of Health and Welfare Hospital, Nasushiobara, Japan Summary Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) is a critical complication of type 1 diabetes associated with water and electrolyte disorders. Here, we report a case of DKA with extreme hyperkalemia (9.0 mEq/L) in a patient with type 1 diabetes on hemodialysis. He had a left frontal cerebral infarction resulting in inability to manage his continuous subcutaneous insulin infusion pump. Electrocardiography showed typical changes of hyperkalemia, including absent P waves, prolonged QRS interval and tented T waves. There was no evidence of total body water deficit. After starting insulin and rapid hemodialysis, the serum potassium level was normalized. Although DKA may present with hypokalemia, rapid hemodialysis may be necessary to resolve severe hyperkalemia in a patient with renal failure. Patients with type 1 diabetes on hemodialysis may develop ketoacidosis because of discontinuation of insulin treatment. Patients on hemodialysis who develop ketoacidosis may have hyperkalemia because of anuria. Absolute insulin deficit alters potassium distribution between the intracellular and extracellular space, and anuria abolishes urinary excretion of potassium. Rapid hemodialysis along with intensive insulin therapy can improve hyperkalemia, while fluid infusions may worsen heart failure in patients with ketoacidosis who routinely require hemodialysis. Background Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) is a very common endocrinology emergency. It is usually associated with severe circulatory Continue reading >>
1352: Is Early Dialysis Indicated In Severe Hyperkalemia Associated With Diabetic Ketoacidosis?
1Wellstar Atlanta Medical Center, Atlanta, GA Learning Objectives: Hyperkalemia is a common lab abnormality in patients who present with diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA). It is mostly due to the underlying acidosis that causes intracellular potassium to shift into the extracellular space and usually corrects itself once acidosis improves. However, severe hyperkalemia which may be multi-factorial should be promptly identified and treated accordingly. Methods: A 44 years old African American male with history of type 1 diabetes mellitus and gastroparesis presented with nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain for two days. He was found on the ground by his mother, very weak and lethargic but arouse-able. Patients mother did not report any other symptoms. His only other history was hypertension and he was compliant with his home regimen of insulin and anti-hypertensives which included Lisinopril. On examination, patient was tachycardic, had dry mucus membranes, diffuse abdominal tenderness and had a port on his chest which was placed due to his recurrent episodes of DKA. He was anuric on admission and his lab values were significant for Na 126, K 9.0, Cl 87, CO2 7.4, BUN 87, creatinine 5.6 and glucose 1253. A baseline creatinine level from two months ago was 1.7 On arterial blood gas analysis pH was 7.04 and pCO2 21.8. Beta-hydroxybutyrate was 11.02. Patient had leukocytosis of 14.9 while H&H was 9.0 & 31.7 Serial EKGs are shown below (showing temporal progression from markedly prolonged QRS, Right bundle branch block, Peaked T Waves to sinus tachycardia). On presentation he was given IV insulin (bolus and then placed on a drip), IV fluids were administered along with calcium gluconate, albuterol and sodium bicarbonate. Nephrology was consulted and patient underwent emergent dialys Continue reading >>
Hyperkalemia (high Blood Potassium)
How does hyperkalemia affect the body? Potassium is critical for the normal functioning of the muscles, heart, and nerves. It plays an important role in controlling activity of smooth muscle (such as the muscle found in the digestive tract) and skeletal muscle (muscles of the extremities and torso), as well as the muscles of the heart. It is also important for normal transmission of electrical signals throughout the nervous system within the body. Normal blood levels of potassium are critical for maintaining normal heart electrical rhythm. Both low blood potassium levels (hypokalemia) and high blood potassium levels (hyperkalemia) can lead to abnormal heart rhythms. The most important clinical effect of hyperkalemia is related to electrical rhythm of the heart. While mild hyperkalemia probably has a limited effect on the heart, moderate hyperkalemia can produce EKG changes (EKG is a reading of theelectrical activity of the heart muscles), and severe hyperkalemia can cause suppression of electrical activity of the heart and can cause the heart to stop beating. Another important effect of hyperkalemia is interference with functioning of the skeletal muscles. Hyperkalemic periodic paralysis is a rare inherited disorder in which patients can develop sudden onset of hyperkalemia which in turn causes muscle paralysis. The reason for the muscle paralysis is not clearly understood, but it is probably due to hyperkalemia suppressing the electrical activity of the muscle. Common electrolytes that are measured by doctors with blood testing include sodium, potassium, chloride, and bicarbonate. The functions and normal range values for these electrolytes are described below. Hypokalemia, or decreased potassium, can arise due to kidney diseases; excessive losses due to heavy sweating Continue reading >>
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 hyperkalemia among the men in this series may have been due partly to their greater renal dysfunction during the acute illness. However, other factors that were not assessed, such as cell K+ release associated with protein catabolism, and insulin deficiency per se, may also have affected serum K+ in these patients. Continue reading >>
Professor of Pediatric Endocrinology University of Khartoum, Sudan Introduction DKA is a serious acute complications of Diabetes Mellitus. It carries significant risk of death and/or morbidity especially with delayed treatment. The prognosis of DKA is worse in the extremes of age, with a mortality rates of 5-10%. With the new advances of therapy, DKA mortality decreases to > 2%. Before discovery and use of Insulin (1922) the mortality was 100%. Epidemiology DKA is reported in 2-5% of known type 1 diabetic patients in industrialized countries, while it occurs in 35-40% of such patients in Africa. DKA at the time of first diagnosis of diabetes mellitus is reported in only 2-3% in western Europe, but is seen in 95% of diabetic children in Sudan. Similar results were reported from other African countries . Consequences The latter observation is annoying because it implies the following: The late diagnosis of type 1 diabetes in many developing countries particularly in Africa. The late presentation of DKA, which is associated with risk of morbidity & mortality Death of young children with DKA undiagnosed or wrongly diagnosed as malaria or meningitis. Pathophysiology Secondary to insulin deficiency, and the action of counter-regulatory hormones, blood glucose increases leading to hyperglycemia and glucosuria. Glucosuria causes an osmotic diuresis, leading to water & Na loss. In the absence of insulin activity the body fails to utilize glucose as fuel and uses fats instead. This leads to ketosis. Pathophysiology/2 The excess of ketone bodies will cause metabolic acidosis, the later is also aggravated by Lactic acidosis caused by dehydration & poor tissue perfusion. Vomiting due to an ileus, plus increased insensible water losses due to tachypnea will worsen the state of dehydr Continue reading >>
Pseudoinfarction Pattern In A Patient With Hyperkalemia, Diabetic Ketoacidosis And Normal Coronary Vessels: A Case Report
Abstract A rare electrocardiographic finding of hyperkalemia is ST segment elevation or the so called 'pseudoinfarction' pattern. It has been suggested that hyperkalemia causes the 'pseudoinfarction' pattern not only through its direct myocardial effects, but also through other mechanisms, such as anoxia, acidosis, and coronary artery spasm. A 33-year-old Caucasian woman with insulin-treated diabetes presented with continuous epigastric pain of four hours duration. Her coronary heart disease risk factors apart from diabetes included hypercholesterolemia and smoking. Her initial electrocardiogram revealed ST segment elevation in the anteroseptal leads consistent with anterior myocardial infarction. Blood tests revealed hyperglycemia, hyperkalemia, metabolic acidosis and urine ketones, while a bed-side cardiac echocardiogram showed no segmental wall motion abnormality. We provisionally diagnosed diabetic ketoacidosis that was possibly precipitated by acute myocardial infarction, as there were findings in favor of (epigastric pain, electrocardiogram pattern, presence of 3 coronary heart disease risk factors) and against (young age, normal echocardiogram) the diagnosis of acute myocardial infarction. We performed cardiac angiography in order to exclude an anterior acute myocardial infarction, which could lead to myocardial damage and possible severe complications should there be a delay in treatment. Angiography revealed normal coronary arteries. During the procedure, ST segment elevation in the anteroseptal leads was still present in our patient's electrocardiogram results. ST segment elevation is a rare manifestation of hyperkalemia. In our patient, coronary spasm did not contribute to such an electrocardiography finding. Introduction It has been reported that hyperkalemi Continue reading >>
Why Is There Hyperkalemia In Diabetic Ketoacidosis?
Diabetic ketoacidosis is a complicated condition which can be caused if you are unable to effectively treat and manage your diabetes. In this condition, ketones are accumulated in the blood which can adversely affect your health. It can be a fatal condition and may cause a lot of complications. One such complication in diabetic ketoacidosis is the onset of hyperkalemia or the high levels of potassium in the blood. In this article, we shall try to understand as to why hyperkalemia is caused in diabetic ketoacidosis? So, read on “Why is There Hyperkalemia in Diabetic Ketoacidosis?” What is Diabetic Ketoacidosis and Hyperkalemia? Diabetic ketoacidosis is a serious complication that is faced by many patients suffering from diabetes. In this condition, excess blood acids called ketones are produced by the body. The above condition should not be taken lightly and should be immediately treated as the same can cause diabetic coma, and eventually the death of the patient. Hyperkalemia refers to abnormally high levels of potassium in the blood of an individual. For a healthy individual, the level of potassium is around 3.5 to 5 milliequivalents per liter. If you have potassium levels higher than that, that is somewhere in between 5.1 to 6 milliequivalents per liter, then you have a mild level of hyperkalemia. Similarly, if the level of potassium in your blood is somewhere between 6.1 to 7 milliequivalents per liter, you have moderate hyperkalemia. Anything above that, you may be suffering from what is known as severe hyperkalemia. Relation Between Diabetic Ketoacidosis and Hyperkalemia There appears to be a strong relationship between hyperkalemia and diabetic ketoacidosis. In the paragraph that follows, we shall try to analyze and understand the same: If you have diabetes an Continue reading >>
Diabetic Ketoacidosis-induced Hyperkalemia
Abstract We report the biochemical data of 22 hospital admissions because of untreated diabetic ketoacidosis. Fifty percent of admitted patients showed an initial serum potassium between 4.6 and 6.0 mEq/1 whereas severe hyperkalemia (value>6.1 mEq/l) occurred in 32%. Initial potassium levels show a slight negative correlation with pH but a stronger correlation (p<0.001) was found between the initial serum potassium and glucose values. We suggest that hyperglycemia due to insulinopenia must be one of the factors in the pathogenesis of this hyperkalemia. Preview Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF. Continue reading >>
Diabetic Ketoacidosis Producing Extreme Hyperkalemia In A Patient With Type 1 Diabetes On Hemodialysis.
Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) is a critical complication of type 1 diabetes associated with water and electrolyte disorders. Here, we report a case of DKA with extreme hyperkalemia (9.0 mEq/L) in a patient with type 1 diabetes on hemodialysis. He had a left frontal cerebral infarction resulting in inability to manage his continuous subcutaneous insulin infusion pump. Electrocardiography showed typical changes of hyperkalemia, including absent P waves, prolonged QRS interval and tented T waves. There was no evidence of total body water deficit. After starting insulin and rapid hemodialysis, the serum potassium level was normalized. Although DKA may present with hypokalemia, rapid hemodialysis may be necessary to resolve severe hyperkalemia in a patient with renal failure.Patients with type 1 diabetes on hemodialysis may develop ketoacidosis because of discontinuation of insulin treatment.Patients on hemodialysis who develop ketoacidosis may have hyperkalemia because of anuria.Absolute insulin deficit alters potassium distribution between the intracellular and extracellular space, and anuria abolishes urinary excretion of potassium.Rapid hemodialysis along with intensive insulin therapy can improve hyperkalemia, while fluid infusions may worsen heart failure in patients with ketoacidosis who routinely require hemodialysis. Continue reading >>
Causes And Evaluation Of Hyperkalemia In Adults
INTRODUCTION Hyperkalemia is a common clinical problem. Potassium enters the body via oral intake or intravenous infusion, is largely stored in the cells, and is then excreted in the urine. The major causes of hyperkalemia are increased potassium release from the cells and, most often, reduced urinary potassium excretion (table 1). This topic will review the causes and evaluation of hyperkalemia. The clinical manifestations, treatment, and prevention of hyperkalemia, as well as a detailed discussion of hypoaldosteronism (an important cause of hyperkalemia), are presented elsewhere. (See "Clinical manifestations of hyperkalemia in adults" and "Treatment and prevention of hyperkalemia in adults" and "Etiology, diagnosis, and treatment of hypoaldosteronism (type 4 RTA)".) BRIEF REVIEW OF POTASSIUM PHYSIOLOGY An understanding of potassium physiology is helpful when approaching patients with hyperkalemia. Total body potassium stores are approximately 3000 meq or more (50 to 75 meq/kg body weight) . In contrast to sodium, which is the major cation in the extracellular fluid and has a much lower concentration in the cells, potassium is primarily an intracellular cation, with the cells containing approximately 98 percent of body potassium. The intracellular potassium concentration is approximately 140 meq/L compared with 4 to 5 meq/L in the extracellular fluid. The difference in distribution of the two cations is maintained by the Na-K-ATPase pump in the cell membrane, which pumps sodium out of and potassium into the cell in a 3:2 ratio. The ratio of the potassium concentrations in the cells and the extracellular fluid is the major determinant of the resting membrane potential across the cell membrane, which sets the stage for the generation of the action potential that is e Continue reading >>