Understanding The Presentation Of Diabetic Ketoacidosis
Hypoglycemia, diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) and hyperglycemic hyperosmolar nonketotic syndrome (HHNS) must be considered while forming a differential diagnosis when assessing and managing a patient with an altered mental status. This is especially true if the patient has a history of diabetes mellitus (DM). However, be aware that the onset of DKA or HHNS may be the first sign of DM in a patient with no known history. Thus, it is imperative to obtain a blood glucose reading on any patient with an altered mental status, especially if the patient appears to be dehydrated, regardless of a positive or negative history of DM. In addition to the blood glucose reading, the history — particularly onset — and physical assessment findings will contribute to the formulation of a differential diagnosis and the appropriate emergency management of the patient. Pathophysiology of DKA The patient experiencing DKA presents significantly different from one who is hypoglycemic. This is due to the variation in the pathology of the condition. Like hypoglycemia, by understanding the basic pathophysiology of DKA, there is no need to memorize signs and symptoms in order to recognize and differentiate between hypoglycemia and DKA. Unlike hypoglycemia, where the insulin level is in excess and the blood glucose level is extremely low, DKA is associated with a relative or absolute insulin deficiency and a severely elevated blood glucose level, typically greater than 300 mg/dL. Due to the lack of insulin, tissue such as muscle, fat and the liver are unable to take up glucose. Even though the blood has an extremely elevated amount of circulating glucose, the cells are basically starving. Because the blood brain barrier does not require insulin for glucose to diffuse across, the brain cells are rece Continue reading >>
What Are The Causes Of Low Carbon Dioxide In The Blood?
Carbon dioxide helps the blood vessels constrict and relax, and it also plays a role in cellular respiration. When a human inhales, he takes in oxygen. When he exhales, he releases carbon dioxide. Most of the carbon dioxide in the blood occurs in the form of bicarbonate. The carbon dioxide blood test, also called the bicarbonate test, measures the amount of bicarbonate in the bloodstream. Some medical conditions and drugs cause low bicarbonate levels. Kidney Disease The kidneys maintain normal levels of sodium, potassium, carbon dioxide and phosphorus in the blood. When kidney disease or kidney failure impairs kidney function, these organs no longer carry out this function properly. Carbon dioxide levels decrease, resulting in the need for treatment. The American Academy of Family Physicians reports that oral or intravenous sodium bicarbonate helps correct low levels of carbon dioxide in the blood. If carbon dioxide levels do not respond to this treatment, doctors prescribe dialaysis. During dialysis, a machine removes blood from the body, filters waste and returns the blood to the circulatory system via plastic tubes. Diabetic Ketoacidosis Diabetic ketoacidosis occurs when a person cannot use glucose properly. This occurs in diabetics who do not have enough insulin to help the glucose enter the cells of the body. When the body cannot use glucose for energy, it uses fat as an energy source, resulting in the production of ketones. As ketones build up in the body, the person develops diabetic ketoacidosis. This condition causes carbon dioxide levels to decrease. Treatment for this condition involves the administration of insulin to restore blood glucose levels to normal. Carbon dioxide levels increase slowly in the first six hours of treatment, according to the Medical Co Continue reading >>
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 >>
Diagnosis And Treatment Of Diabetic Ketoacidosis And The Hyperglycemic Hyperosmolar State
Go to: Pathogenesis In both DKA and HHS, the underlying metabolic abnormality results from the combination of absolute or relative insulin deficiency and increased amounts of counterregulatory hormones. Glucose and lipid metabolism When insulin is deficient, the elevated levels of glucagon, catecholamines and cortisol will stimulate hepatic glucose production through increased glycogenolysis and enhanced gluconeogenesis4 (Fig. 1). Hypercortisolemia will result in increased proteolysis, thus providing amino acid precursors for gluconeogenesis. Low insulin and high catecholamine concentrations will reduce glucose uptake by peripheral tissues. The combination of elevated hepatic glucose production and decreased peripheral glucose use is the main pathogenic disturbance responsible for hyperglycemia in DKA and HHS. The hyperglycemia will lead to glycosuria, osmotic diuresis and dehydration. This will be associated with decreased kidney perfusion, particularly in HHS, that will result in decreased glucose clearance by the kidney and thus further exacerbation of the hyperglycemia. In DKA, the low insulin levels combined with increased levels of catecholamines, cortisol and growth hormone will activate hormone-sensitive lipase, which will cause the breakdown of triglycerides and release of free fatty acids. The free fatty acids are taken up by the liver and converted to ketone bodies that are released into the circulation. The process of ketogenesis is stimulated by the increase in glucagon levels.5 This hormone will activate carnitine palmitoyltransferase I, an enzyme that allows free fatty acids in the form of coenzyme A to cross mitochondrial membranes after their esterification into carnitine. On the other side, esterification is reversed by carnitine palmitoyltransferase I Continue reading >>
Patient professional reference Professional Reference articles are written by UK doctors and are based on research evidence, UK and European Guidelines. They are designed for health professionals to use. You may find the Pre-diabetes (Impaired Glucose Tolerance) article more useful, or one of our other health articles. See also the separate Childhood Ketoacidosis article. Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) is a medical emergency with a significant morbidity and mortality. It should be diagnosed promptly and managed intensively. DKA is characterised by hyperglycaemia, acidosis and ketonaemia: Ketonaemia (3 mmol/L and over), or significant ketonuria (more than 2+ on standard urine sticks). Blood glucose over 11 mmol/L or known diabetes mellitus (the degree of hyperglycaemia is not a reliable indicator of DKA and the blood glucose may rarely be normal or only slightly elevated in DKA). Bicarbonate below 15 mmol/L and/or venous pH less than 7.3. However, hyperglycaemia may not always be present and low blood ketone levels (<3 mmol/L) do not always exclude DKA. Epidemiology DKA is normally seen in people with type 1 diabetes. Data from the UK National Diabetes Audit show a crude one-year incidence of 3.6% among people with type 1 diabetes. In the UK nearly 4% of people with type 1 diabetes experience DKA each year. About 6% of cases of DKA occur in adults newly presenting with type 1 diabetes. About 8% of episodes occur in hospital patients who did not primarily present with DKA. However, DKA may also occur in people with type 2 diabetes, although people with type 2 diabetes are much more likely to have a hyperosmolar hyperglycaemic state. Ketosis-prone type 2 diabetes tends to be more common in older, overweight, non-white people with type 2 diabetes, and DKA may be their Continue reading >>
About Diabetic ketoacidosis must be managed with a defined well documented and communicated plan It is seen in new presentations and Type 1 diabetics with intercurrent illness and poor control Patients need education on not to stop insulin when unwell and to seek medical help There is a severe deficit of Fluid, Insulin and Potassium Aetiology Glucose and K+ usually enter cells through the actions of Insulin In DKA the Insulin deficit leads to cell starvation and a switch to burning fatty acids The beta-oxidation of fats creates acid byproducts which lower the pH At the same time there is a profound osmotic diuresis due to the severe hyperglycaemia Vomiting can compound the fluid losses Clinical Recent thirst, polyuria and polydipsia, vomiting and breathlessness Severe hyperventilating Kussmaul's respiration to blow off CO2 Smell of acetone "nail varnish" on the breath (not all of us can smell it) Profound dehydration and volume loss from polyuria due to glycosuria Sunken eyes, reduced skin turgor, hypotensive, tachycardia, oliguric Possibly sepsis - chest and urine or elsewhere Investigations Ketonuria 3+ and glycosuria and Raised [glucose] There is a low bicarbonate < 15 mmols/l FBC - elevated WCC and CRP may suggest infection U&E - may show mild uraemia and hypernatraemia. Initially raised K+ due to acidosis but potassium levels fall with Insulin administration as it oves into the intracellular space so U&E needs repeated monitoring Glucose - high usually > 20 mmol/L Arterial Blood gas There is an increased Anion gap CXR if chest disease eg pneumonia suspected CT scan if comatose to exclude other diagnoses Management In a nutshell is careful replacement of Insulin, Fluid, Potassium. Involve Endocrinology and ITU support early. Ensure treatment plans well documented. E Continue reading >>
Pulmcrit – Four Dka Pearls
Introduction I have a confession to make: I love treating DKA. It’s satisfying to take a patient from severe acidosis, electrolytic disarray, and hypovolemia to normal physiology during an ICU shift. Although it's usually straightforward, there are some pitfalls and a few tricks that may help your patients improve faster.0 Pearl #1: Avoid normal saline A common phenomenon observed when starting a DKA resuscitation with normal saline (NS) is worseningof the patient’s acidosis with decreasing bicarbonate levels (example below). This occurs despite an improvement in the anion gap, and is explained by a hyperchloremic metabolic acidosis caused by bolusing with NS. This could be a real problem for a patient whose initial bicarbonate level is extremely low.1 A while ago I made the switch from NS to lactated ringers (LR) for resuscitation of DKA patients, and have not observed this phenomenon when using LR. Example of the effect of normal saline resuscitation during the initial phase of DKA resuscitation. This patient received approximately 3 liters normal saline between admission labs and the next set of labs as well as an insulin infusion, all textbook management per American Diabetes Association guidelines. The anion gap decreased from 33 mEq/L to 30 mEq/L, indicating improvement of ketoacidosis. However, the bicarbonate decreased from 8 mEq/L to 5 mEq/L due to a hyperchloremic metabolic acidosis caused by the normal saline. Note the increase in chloride over four hours. Failure of the potassium to decrease significantly despite insulin infusion may reflect potassium shifting out of the cells in response to the hyperchloremic metabolic acidosis. There is only one randomized controlled trial comparing NS to LR for resuscitation in DKA (Zyl et al, 2011). These authors fou Continue reading >>
Diabetic Ketoacidosis (dka)
Diabetic ketoacidosis is an acute metabolic complication of diabetes characterized by hyperglycemia, hyperketonemia, and metabolic acidosis. Hyperglycemia causes an osmotic diuresis with significant fluid and electrolyte loss. DKA occurs mostly in type 1 diabetes mellitus (DM). It causes nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain and can progress to cerebral edema, coma, and death. DKA is diagnosed by detection of hyperketonemia and anion gap metabolic acidosis in the presence of hyperglycemia. Treatment involves volume expansion, insulin replacement, and prevention of hypokalemia. Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) is most common among patients with type 1 diabetes mellitus and develops when insulin levels are insufficient to meet the body’s basic metabolic requirements. DKA is the first manifestation of type 1 DM in a minority of patients. Insulin deficiency can be absolute (eg, during lapses in the administration of exogenous insulin) or relative (eg, when usual insulin doses do not meet metabolic needs during physiologic stress). Common physiologic stresses that can trigger DKA include Some drugs implicated in causing DKA include DKA is less common in type 2 diabetes mellitus, but it may occur in situations of unusual physiologic stress. Ketosis-prone type 2 diabetes is a variant of type 2 diabetes, which is sometimes seen in obese individuals, often of African (including African-American or Afro-Caribbean) origin. People with ketosis-prone diabetes (also referred to as Flatbush diabetes) can have significant impairment of beta cell function with hyperglycemia, and are therefore more likely to develop DKA in the setting of significant hyperglycemia. SGLT-2 inhibitors have been implicated in causing DKA in both type 1 and type 2 DM. Continue reading >>
Bicarbonate In Diabetic Ketoacidosis - A Systematic Review
Abstract This study was designed to examine the efficacy and risk of bicarbonate administration in the emergent treatment of severe acidemia in diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA). PUBMED database was used to identify potentially relevant articles in the pediatric and adult DKA populations. DKA intervention studies on bicarbonate administration versus no bicarbonate in the emergent therapy, acid-base studies, studies on risk association with cerebral edema, and related case reports, were selected for review. Two reviewers independently conducted data extraction and assessed the citation relevance for inclusion. From 508 potentially relevant articles, 44 were included in the systematic review, including three adult randomized controlled trials (RCT) on bicarbonate administration versus no bicarbonate in DKA. We observed a marked heterogeneity in pH threshold, concentration, amount, and timing for bicarbonate administration in various studies. Two RCTs demonstrated transient improvement in metabolic acidosis with bicarbonate treatment within the initial 2 hours. There was no evidence of improved glycemic control or clinical efficacy. There was retrospective evidence of increased risk for cerebral edema and prolonged hospitalization in children who received bicarbonate, and weak evidence of transient paradoxical worsening of ketosis, and increased need for potassium supplementation. No studies involved patients with an initial pH < 6.85. The evidence to date does not justify the administration of bicarbonate for the emergent treatment of DKA, especially in the pediatric population, in view of possible clinical harm and lack of sustained benefits. Introduction Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) is a serious medical emergency resulting from relative or absolute insulin deficiency and the u Continue reading >>
Diabetes mellitus is the name given to a group of conditions whose common hallmark is a raised blood glucose concentration (hyperglycemia) due to an absolute or relative deficiency of the pancreatic hormone insulin. In the UK there are 1.4 million registered diabetic patients, approximately 3 % of the population. In addition, an estimated 1 million remain undiagnosed. It is a growing health problem: In 1998, the World Health Organization (WHO) predicted a doubling of the worldwide prevalence of diabetes from 150 million to 300 million by 2025. For a very tiny minority, diabetes is a secondary feature of primary endocrine disease such as acromegaly (growth hormone excess) or Cushing’s syndrome (excess corticosteroid), and for these patients successful treatment of the primary disease cures diabetes. Most diabetic patients, however, are classified as suffering either type 1 or type 2 diabetes. Type 1 diabetes Type 1 diabetes, which accounts for around 15 % of the total diabetic population, is an autoimmune disease of the pancreas in which the insulin-producing β-cells of the pancreas are selectively destroyed, resulting in an absolute insulin deficiency. The condition arises in genetically susceptible individuals exposed to undefined environmental insult(s) (possibly viral infection) early in life. It usually becomes clinically evident and therefore diagnosed during late childhood, with peak incidence between 11 and 13 years of age, although the autoimmune-mediated β-cell destruction begins many years earlier. There is currently no cure and type 1 diabetics have an absolute life-long requirement for daily insulin injections to survive. Type 2 diabetes This is the most common form of diabetes: around 85 % of the diabetic population has type 2 diabetes. The primary prob Continue reading >>
Please Remember Also, Guidelines And Protocols Are No Substitute For Clinical Exam And Expert Opinion.
If your patient does not continue to improve over the first 3-4 hours of treatment, please re-assess and seek expert opinion from endocrine and/or critical care. Pediatric Diabetic Ketoacidosis Guidelines For new onset diabetes in a pediatric patient NOT in DKA (see criteria below) â€¢ These guidelines may not be appropriate â€¢ Consult endocrine and pediatric admit resident â€¢ Utilize EPICâ€™s Order set labelled Pedi Diabetes New Onset For any pediatric patient in DKA, whether new onset or not â€¢ Initiate the following guidelines â€¢ Consult PICU and endocrine â€¢ Utilize EPICâ€™s order set labelled Pedi Diabetes DKA â€¢ Use 2 bag IV fluid system as determined by the excel file DKA IV fluids and roadmap Pediatric DKA Guidelines â€¢The goal is correction of metabolic acidosis, not euglycemia. â€¢ Hyperglycemic (glucose > 200 mg/dL) AND â€¢ Metabolic Acidosis (pH < 7.3, bicarb < 15 mEq/L) AND â€¢ Mild pH 7.2-7.3, bicarb 10-15 â€¢ Moderate pH 7.1-7.2, bicarb 5-10 â€¢ Severe pH <7.1, bicarb <5 â€¢ Ketosis â€“ blood and/or urine Criteria for diagnosis of DKA. All 3 must be satisfied â€¢ The vast majority of children with DKA will be tachypneic with increased work of breathing but with a very low CO2 and no oxygen requirements. â€¢ Consider intubation only for respiratory failure or for children who are comatose (lost airway protection). â€¢ Be very cautious, it is impossible to match the minute ventilation of Kussmaul respirations which is compensating for metabolic acidosis. Airway / Breathing â€¢ While cautious IV rehydration is recommended, you must first aggressively treat shock. â€¢ If hypotensive or poorly perfused give 20 mL/kg isotonic fluid bolus (Lactate Ringers, Normosol, Continue reading >>
Blood Gas Measurements In Dka: Are We Searching For A Unicorn?
Introduction Recently there have been numerous publications and discussions about whether VBGs can replace ABGs in DKA. The growing consensus is that VBGs are indeed adequate. Eliminating painful, time-consuming arterial blood draws is a huge step in the right direction. However, the ABG vs. VBG debate overlooks a larger point: neither ABG nor VBG measurements are usually helpful. It is widely recommended to routinely obtain an ABG or VBG, for example by both American and British guidelines. Why? Is it helping our patients, or is it something that we do out of a sense of habit or obligation? Diagnosis of DKA: Blood gas doesn’t help These are the diagnostic criteria for DKA from the America Diabetes Association. They utilize either pH or bicarbonate in a redundant fashion to quantify the severity of acidosis. It is unclear what independent information the pH adds beyond what is provided by the bicarbonate. Practically speaking, the blood gas doesn’t help diagnose DKA. This diagnosis should be based on analysis of the metabolic derangements in the acid-base status (e.g. anion gap, beta-hydroxybutyrate level). The addition of a blood gas to serum chemistries only adds information about the respiratory status, which does not help determine if the patient has ketoacidosis. Management: Does the pH help? It is debatable whether knowing or attempting to directly “treat” the pH is helpful. The pH will often be very low, usually lower than would be expected by looking at the patient. This may induce panic. However, it is actually a useful reminder that acidemia itself doesn't necessarily cause instability (e.g. healthy young rowers may experience lactic acidosis with a pH <7 during athletic exertion; Volianitis 2001). A question often arises regarding whether bicarbonate Continue reading >>
I. Review of normal lipid metabolism Triglycerides in adipose ==lipolysis==> Long-chain FAs Long-chain FAs==hepatic beta-oxidation==>Acetyl CoA Acetyl CoA==hepatic ketogenesis==>ketone bodies Ketone bodies are Beta-hydroxybutyrate and Acetoacetate Beta-OHB is oxidized to AcAc-; their relative concentrations depend on redox state of cell; Beta-OHB predominates in situation favoring reductive metabolism (e.g. decreased tissue perfusion, met. acidosis, catabolic states--like DKA!) Typical ratio Beta-OHB:AcAc- is 3:1; us. increases in DKA II. Hormonal influences on glucose and lipid metabolism Insulin In liver, increases glu uptake from portal blood; stimulates glycogenesis, inhibits glycogenolysis and gluconeogenesis In skeletal muscle, increases glu uptake from blood, stimulates protein synth, inhibits proteolysis In adipose tissue, required for glu and lipoprotein uptake from blood; stimulates lipogenesis, inhibits lipolysis Tissues which don't require insulin to transport glucose into cells: brain, renal medulla, formed blood elements Counterregulatory hormones: glucagon (major player in DKA), epi/norepi, cortisol, growth hormone (no acute effects, only over days-weeks) Glucagon: increases hepatic beta-oxidation, ketogenesis, gluconeogenesis and glycogenolysis; decreases hepatic FA synth. Epi/Norepi: increase hepatic gluconeogenesis & glycogenolysis; increases adipose lipolysis; decreases peripheral glu utilization Cortisol: major effect is decreased peripheral glu utiliz; little effect on production Growth hormone: increases hepatic gluconeogenesis and glycogenolysis; increases adipose lipolysis In high counterreg. hormone states (see above), require high levels of insulin to avoid progressive hyperglycemia and ketoacidosis--glucagon levels in DKA are 5-6 x nl* III. Pa Continue reading >>
4 Evaluation 5 Management Defining features include hyperglycemia (glucose > 250mg/dl), acidosis (pH < 7.3), and ketonemia/ketonuria Leads to osmotic diuresis and depletion of electrolytes including sodium, magnesium, calcium and phosphorous. Further dehydration impairs glomerular filtration rate (GFR) and contributes to acute renal failure Due to lipolysis / accumulation of of ketoacids (represented by increased anion gap) Compensatory respiratory alkalosis (i.e. tachypnea and hyperpnea - Kussmaul breathing) Breakdown of adipose creates first acetoacetate leading to conversion to beta-hydroxybutyrate Causes activation of RAAS in addition to the osmotic diuresis Cation loss (in exchange for chloride) worsens metabolic acidosis May be the initial presenting of an unrecognized T1DM patient Presenting signs/symptoms include altered mental status, tachypnea, abdominal pain, hypotension, decreased urine output. Perform a thorough neurologic exam (cerebral edema increases mortality significantly, especially in children) Assess for possible inciting cause (especially for ongoing infection; see Differential Diagnosis section) Ill appearance. Acetone breath. Drowsiness with decreased reflexes Tachypnea (Kussmaul's breathing) Signs of dehydration with dry mouth and dry mucosa. Perform a thorough neurologic exam as cerebral edema increases mortality significantly, especially in children There may be signs from underlying cause (eg pneumonia) Differential Diagnosis Insulin or oral hypoglycemic medication non-compliance Infection Intra-abdominal infections Steroid use Drug abuse Pregnancy Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) Diagnosis is made based on the presence of acidosis and ketonemia in the setting of diabetes. Bicarb may be normal due to compensatory and contraction alcoholosis so the Continue reading >>
Exam Shows Diffuse Abdominal Tenderness With Guarding.
A 14 y/o female is brought to the emergency department by her mother after being found unresponsive at home. She had been ill the day before with nausea and vomiting, but was not running a fever. Her parents had kept her home from school that day. When her mother came home at lunchtime to check on her, she was very lethargic and not responding coherently. By the time she arrived at the hospital, she had to be brought in to the ED on a gurney. Initial evaluation showed O2 sat 100% on room air, pulse 126, respirations 30, BP 92/68, temperature 101.2 F. She appears pale, mucous membranes are dry and she only responds to painful stimuli. Exam shows diffuse abdominal tenderness with guarding. Differential diagnosis? What initial treatment would you suggest? What labs would you order? Any xrays or additional studies? CBC WBC 23,500 Hgb 14.2 g/dL Hct 45% Platelets 425,000 BMP Sodium 126 Potassium 5.2 Chloride 87 CO2 <5 BUN 32 Creatinine 1.5 Glucose 1,376 Arterial Blood Gases pH 7.19 Po2 100 mm Hg HCO3 7.5 mmo/L Pco2 20 mm Hg Sao2 98% (room air) Urine Specific gravity 1.015 Ketones 4+ Leukocytes few Glucose 4+ Nitrates 0 RBCs many Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) is an acute metabolic complication of diabetes characterized by hyperglycemia, hyperketonemia, and metabolic acidosis. DKA occurs mostly in type 1 diabetics. It causes nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain and can progress to cerebral edema, coma, and death. DKA is diagnosed by detection of hyperketonemia and anion gap metabolic acidosis in the presence of hyperglycemia. Treatment involves volume expansion, insulin replacement, and prevention of hypokalemia. Symptoms and signs of DKA Nausea & vomiting Abdominal pain--particularly in children Lethargy and somnolence Kussmaul respirations Hypotension Tachycardia Fruity breath Continue reading >>