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Potassium In Dka

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Diabetic Ketoacidosis

Abbas E. Kitabchi, PhD., MD., FACP, FACE Professor of Medicine & Molecular Sciences and Maston K. Callison Professor in the Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes & Metabolism UT Health Science Center, 920 Madison Ave., 300A, Memphis, TN 38163 Aidar R. Gosmanov, M.D., Ph.D., D.M.Sc. Assistant Professor of Medicine, Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes & Metabolism, The University of Tennessee Health Science Center, 920 Madison Avenue, Suite 300A, Memphis, TN 38163 Clinical Recognition Omission of insulin and infection are the two most common precipitants of DKA. Non-compliance may account for up to 44% of DKA presentations; while infection is less frequently observed in DKA patients. Acute medical illnesses involving the cardiovascular system (myocardial infarction, stroke, acute thrombosis) and gastrointestinal tract (bleeding, pancreatitis), diseases of endocrine axis (acromegaly, Cushing`s syndrome, hyperthyroidism) and impaired thermo-regulation or recent surgical procedures can contribute to the development of DKA by causing dehydration, increase in insulin counter-regulatory hormones, and worsening of peripheral insulin resistance. Medications such as diuretics, beta-blockers, co Continue reading >>

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Popular Questions

  1. metalmd06

    Does acute DKA cause hyperkalemia, or is the potassium normal or low due to osmotic diuresis? I get the acute affect of metabolic acidosis on potassium (K+ shifts from intracellular to extracellular compartments). According to MedEssentials, the initial response (<24 hours) is increased serum potassium. The chronic effect occuring within 24 hours is a compensatory increase in Aldosterone that normalizes or ultimatley decreases the serum K+. Then it says on another page that because of osmotic diuresis, there is K+ wasting with DKA. On top of that, I had a question about a diabetic patient in DKA with signs of hyperkalemia. Needless to say, I'm a bit confused. Any help is appreciated.

  2. FutureDoc4

    I remember this being a tricky point:
    1) DKA leads to a decreased TOTAL body K+ (due to diuresis) (increase urine flow, increase K+ loss)
    2) Like you said, during DKA, acidosis causes an exchange of H+/K+ leading to hyperkalemia.
    So, TOTAL body K+ is low, but the patient presents with hyperkalemia. Why is this important? Give, insulin, pushes the K+ back into the cells and can quickly precipitate hypokalemia and (which we all know is bad). Hope that is helpful.

  3. Cooolguy

    DKA-->Anion gap M. Acidosis-->K+ shift to extracellular component--> hyperkalemia-->symptoms and signs
    DKA--> increased osmoles-->Osmotic diuresis-->loss of K+ in urine-->decreased total body K+ (because more has been seeped from the cells)
    --dont confuse total body K+ with EC K+
    Note: osmotic diuresis also causes polyuria, ketonuria, glycosuria, and loss of Na+ in urine--> Hyponatremia
    DKA tx: Insulin (helps put K+ back into cells), and K+ (to replenish the low total potassium
    Hope it helps

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