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Potassium Shift In Dka

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Effects Of Ph On Potassium: New Explanations For Old Observations

The effects of acid-base balance on serum potassium are well known.1 Maintenance of extracellular K+ concentration within a narrow range is vital for numerous cell functions, particularly electrical excitability of heart and muscle.2 However, maintenance of normal extracellular K+ (3.5 to 5 mEq/L) is under two potential threats. First, as illustrated in Figure 1, because some 98% of the total body content of K+ resides within cells, predominantly skeletal muscle, small acute shifts of intracellular K+ into or out of the extracellular space can cause severe, even lethal, derangements of extracellular K+ concentration. As described in Figure 1, many factors in addition to acid-base perturbations modulate internal K+ distribution including insulin, catecholamines, and hypertonicity.3,4 Rapid redistribution of K+ into the intracellular space is essential for minimizing increases in extracellular K+ concentration during acute K+ loads. Second, as also illustrated in Figure 1, in steady state the typical daily K+ ingestion of about 70 mEq/d would be sufficient to cause large changes in extracellular K+ were it not for continuous renal K+ excretion, because K+ loss from the gastrointestin Continue reading >>

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  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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Pem Pearls: Treatment Of Pediatric Diabetic Ketoacidosis And The Two-bag Method

Insulin does MANY things in the body, but the role we care about in the Emergency Department is glucose regulation. Insulin allows cells to take up glucose from the blood stream, inhibits liver glucose production, increases glycogen storage, and increases lipid production. When insulin is not present, such as in patients with Type 1 diabetes mellitus (DM), all of the opposite effects occur. A lack of insulin causes the following downstream effects: Prevents glucose from being used as an energy source – Free fatty acids are used instead and produce ketoacids during metabolism. Causes a surge of stress hormones and induces gluconeogenesis – When blood glucose levels are elevated, the kidneys cannot absorb all of the glucose from the urine, and the extra glucose in the urine causes polyuria, even in the setting of dehydration. In addition, acidosis causes potassium to shift out of cells into the blood, and the combination of this with dehydration causes the body to preferentially retain sodium at the expense of potassium.1,2 When insulin homeostasis is disrupted and decompensates, patients are at risk for developing diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA). All of the following criteria are re 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

  4. -> Continue reading
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Osmotic Diuresis

Reduction of Glomerular Filtration Rate Osmotic diuresis, additional losses such as via vomiting, and decreased water intake contribute to progressive dehydration, hypovolemia, and ultimately a reduction in the GFR as the syndrome progresses. Severe hyperglycemia can occur only in the presence of reduced GFR, because there is no maximum rate of glucose loss via the kidney.19,20 That is, all glucose that enters the kidney in excess of the renal threshold will be excreted in the urine. An inverse correlation exists between GFR and serum glucose in diabetic humans.19 Reductions in GFR increase the magnitude of hyperglycemia, which exacerbates glucosuria and osmotic diuresis. Human HHS survivors have also shown a reduced thirst response to rising vasopressin levels, which may also contribute to dehydration21 and decreased GFR. Reduction of Glomerular Filtration Rate Osmotic diuresis, additional losses such as via vomiting, and decreased water intake contribute to progressive dehydration, hypovolemia, and ultimately a reduction in the GFR as the syndrome progresses. Severe hyperglycemia can occur only in the presence of reduced GFR, because there is no maximum rate of glucose loss via t Continue reading >>

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Popular Questions

  1. hippocampus

    What are the potassium level abnormalities associated with DKA (during diagnosis and treatment.)

  2. ahassan

    During DKA, the total body K is low bcz of osmotic diuresis, BUT the serum k conc. is raised bcz of the lack of insulin action, which allows k to shift out of the cells. So hyperkalemia.
    During treatment, k is shifted into the cells, which may lead to profound hypokalemia n death if not treated, so during therapy you have to adjust KCL conc. depending on blood K levels.

  3. tomymajor

    In DKA--> K level may be high or normal so we dont add k from the start of ttt
    But : In HHNKC---> K level is low from the start so we give k from start of ttt

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