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Why Is Dka An Emergency

Assessing Diabetic Ketoacidosis In The Emergency Department

Assessing Diabetic Ketoacidosis In The Emergency Department

When hyperglycemic patients present to the emergency department, it is common practice to evaluate them for diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) using both venous blood gas (VBG) and serum chemistry results. Within the past several years, however, many labs have implemented blood gas analyzers that report not only standard VBG measurements but also electrolyte results typically provided through serum chemistry panels. This prompted researchers at the University of Southern California (USC) to evaluate the performance of VBG electrolytes in comparison to standard serum chemistry results. Their findings are the subject of this issue of Strategies. Amidst the rising tide of diabetes and diabetic complications, emergency physicians typically assess hyperglycemic patients for DKA when their triage blood glucose is ≥250 mg/dL, regardless of the purpose for their visit. American Diabetes Association (ADA) criteria for DKA include serum glucose ≥250 mg/dL, serum anion gap >10 mEq/L, bicarbonate ≤18 mEq/L, serum pH ≤7.30, and presence of ketosis. In the past, measuring these parameters required both venous blood gas and serum chemistry results. Today, many labs have implemented blood gas analyzers that report not only standard VBG measurements such as serum pH and bicarbonate, but also analytes like sodium, potassium, and glucose. Having observed that these parameters were available via VBG, USC researchers sought to evaluate their performance in comparison to standard serum chemistry results with the idea that if the methods were comparable they might be able to use only the VBG results (Acad Emerg Med 2011;18:1105-8). “The emergency environment is very challenging due to crowding, so we’re constantly looking for processes that improve our throughput. One doesn’t think of Continue reading >>

Diabetic Ketoacidosis

Diabetic Ketoacidosis

Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) is a potentially life-threatening complication of diabetes mellitus.[1] Signs and symptoms may include vomiting, abdominal pain, deep gasping breathing, increased urination, weakness, confusion, and occasionally loss of consciousness.[1] A person's breath may develop a specific smell.[1] Onset of symptoms is usually rapid.[1] In some cases people may not realize they previously had diabetes.[1] DKA happens most often in those with type 1 diabetes, but can also occur in those with other types of diabetes under certain circumstances.[1] Triggers may include infection, not taking insulin correctly, stroke, and certain medications such as steroids.[1] DKA results from a shortage of insulin; in response the body switches to burning fatty acids which produces acidic ketone bodies.[3] DKA is typically diagnosed when testing finds high blood sugar, low blood pH, and ketoacids in either the blood or urine.[1] The primary treatment of DKA is with intravenous fluids and insulin.[1] Depending on the severity, insulin may be given intravenously or by injection under the skin.[3] Usually potassium is also needed to prevent the development of low blood potassium.[1] Throughout treatment blood sugar and potassium levels should be regularly checked.[1] Antibiotics may be required in those with an underlying infection.[6] In those with severely low blood pH, sodium bicarbonate may be given; however, its use is of unclear benefit and typically not recommended.[1][6] Rates of DKA vary around the world.[5] 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.[1][5] DKA was first described in 1886 and, until the introduction of insulin therapy in the 1920s, it was almost univ Continue reading >>

Diabetes In The Emergency Department And Hospital: Acute Care Of Diabetes Patients

Diabetes In The Emergency Department And Hospital: Acute Care Of Diabetes Patients

Go to: Hyperglycemic Crisis: DKA and HHS Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) accounts for more than 110,000 hospitalizations annually in the United States, with mortality ranging from 2 to 10%4–6. Hyperglycemic hyperosmolar state (HHS) is much less common but confers a much greater mortality7. Patients with DKA classically present with uncontrolled hyperglycemia, metabolic acidosis, and increased total body ketone concentration. On the other hand, HHS is defined by altered mental status caused by hyperosmolality, profound dehydration, and severe hyperglycemia without significant ketoacidosis6,8. Initial evaluation In the Emergency Department, the primary goals are rapid evaluation and stabilization. All patients with severe hyperglycemia should immediately undergo assessment and stabilization of their airway and hemodynamic status, with consideration of administration of naloxone for all patients with altered mentation to reverse potential opiate overdose, and thiamine for all patients at risk for Wernicke’s encephalopathy. In cases requiring intubation, the paralytic succinylcholine should not be used if hyperkalemia is suspected as it may acutely further elevate potassium. Immediate assessment should also include placing patients on oxygen, measure O2 saturation and cardiac monitoring as well as obtaining vital signs, a fingerstick glucose, intravenous (IV) access, and a 12-lead electrocardiogram to evaluate for arrhythmias and signs of hyper-and hypokalemia. Emergency Department evaluation should include a thorough clinical history and physical examination, as well as a venous blood gas,9,10 complete blood count, basic metabolic panel, and urinalysis; a urine pregnancy test must be sent for all women with childbearing potential. An important goal of this evaluation is id Continue reading >>

Diabetic Ketoacidosis

Diabetic Ketoacidosis

As fat is broken down, acids called ketones build up in the blood and urine. In high levels, ketones are poisonous. This condition is known as ketoacidosis. Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) is sometimes the first sign of type 1 diabetes in people who have not yet been diagnosed. It can also occur in someone who has already been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. Infection, injury, a serious illness, missing doses of insulin shots, or surgery can lead to DKA in people with type 1 diabetes. People with type 2 diabetes can also develop DKA, but it is less common. It is usually triggered by uncontrolled blood sugar, missing doses of medicines, or a severe illness. Continue reading >>

Episode 63 – Pediatric Dka

Episode 63 – Pediatric Dka

Pediatric DKA was identified as one of key diagnoses that we need to get better at managing in a massive national needs assessment conducted by the fine folks at TREKK – Translating Emergency Knowledge for Kids – one of EM Cases’ partners who’s mission is to improve the care of children in non-pediatric emergency departments across the country. You might be wondering – why was DKA singled out in this needs assessment? It turns out that kids who present to the ED in DKA without a known history of diabetes, can sometimes be tricky to diagnose, as they often present with vague symptoms. When a child does have a known history of diabetes, and the diagnosis of DKA is obvious, the challenge turns to managing severe, life-threatening DKA, so that we avoid the many potential complications of the DKA itself as well as the complications of treatment – cerebral edema being the big bad one. The approach to these patients has evolved over the years, even since I started practicing, from bolusing insulin and super aggressive fluid resuscitation to more gentle fluid management and delayed insulin drips, as examples. There are subtleties and controversies in the management of DKA when it comes to fluid management, correcting serum potassium and acidosis, preventing cerebral edema, as well as airway management for the really sick kids. In this episode we‘ll be asking our guest pediatric emergency medicine experts Dr. Sarah Reid, who you may remember from her powerhouse performance on our recent episodes on pediatric fever and sepsis, and Dr. Sarah Curtis, not only a pediatric emergency physician, but a prominent pediatric emergency researcher in Canada, about the key historical and examination pearls to help pick up this sometimes elusive diagnosis, what the value of serum Continue reading >>

What Was The Reason For Selecting The Number

What Was The Reason For Selecting The Number "911" As The Emergency Telephone Number For The North American Numbering Plan?

911 came into use in the United States for the first time in 1968. One factor which led to this specific number series is that the digital phone came into use in the mid 1960's. The three digits of 9-1-1 were each chosen for specific reasons. The first digit is 9. The main reason that it was chosen was since most large business phone systems required one to dial a number for an outside line use, and a 9 is more often than not the number that you needed to dial. It was theorized that it would be faster, easier, and most efficient to make the first digit a 9 so that the caller could simply dial the same number twice. Also, since the British version of 999 already existed, the idea of using the 9 was kind of borrowed. The second digit is a 1. There was temptation to model after Britain who had been using 999 since 1937. The main reason for the use of the 1 (instead of a 9) is because it is exactly opposite from the 9 on the digital phone layout making it easy to find even in the dark. There was a concern that use of a repeating number series like 999 might lead to callers inadvertently bumping one button multiple times (namely the 9) when they were not even trying to call for aid. I guess 1968 foresaw the problem of "butt-dialing", and this was their way of trying to mitigate that problem. The last 1 was chosen because it was in the same place as the second 1. The originators avoided using more than 2 different digits out of concern so that the caller would not have to hunt for three different digits. It was seen as quick and easy to double dial the 1 digit for the second and third digit. This is the same thinking for calling from and office where the caller would dial "9-9-1-1". Another reason that 1 was chosen over any other number relates to the rotary phone which was s Continue reading >>

Management Of A Patient With Diabetic Ketoacidosis In The Emergency Department

Management Of A Patient With Diabetic Ketoacidosis In The Emergency Department

Diabetic ketoacidosis is a common problem among known and newly diagnosed diabetic children and adolescents for which they will often seek care in the emergency department (ED). Technological advances are leading to changes in outpatient management of diabetes. The ED physician needs to be aware of the new technologies in the care of diabetic children and comfortable managing patients using continuous subcutaneous insulin infusions. This article reviews the ED management of diabetic ketoacidosis and its associated complications, as well as the specific recommendations in caring for patients using the continuous subcutaneous insulin infusion, serum ketone monitoring, and continuous glucose monitoring. Copyright © 2015 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved. Continue reading >>

Management Of Diabetic Ketoacidosis

Management Of Diabetic Ketoacidosis

Diabetic ketoacidosis is an emergency medical condition that can be life-threatening if not treated properly. The incidence of this condition may be increasing, and a 1 to 2 percent mortality rate has stubbornly persisted since the 1970s. Diabetic ketoacidosis occurs most often in patients with type 1 diabetes (formerly called insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus); however, its occurrence in patients with type 2 diabetes (formerly called non–insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus), particularly obese black patients, is not as rare as was once thought. The management of patients with diabetic ketoacidosis includes obtaining a thorough but rapid history and performing a physical examination in an attempt to identify possible precipitating factors. The major treatment of this condition is initial rehydration (using isotonic saline) with subsequent potassium replacement and low-dose insulin therapy. The use of bicarbonate is not recommended in most patients. Cerebral edema, one of the most dire complications of diabetic ketoacidosis, occurs more commonly in children and adolescents than in adults. Continuous follow-up of patients using treatment algorithms and flow sheets can help to minimize adverse outcomes. Preventive measures include patient education and instructions for the patient to contact the physician early during an illness. Diabetic ketoacidosis is a triad of hyperglycemia, ketonemia and acidemia, each of which may be caused by other conditions (Figure 1).1 Although diabetic ketoacidosis most often occurs in patients with type 1 diabetes (formerly called insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus), more recent studies suggest that it can sometimes be the presenting condition in obese black patients with newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes (formerly called non–insulin-depe Continue reading >>

Dka (diabetic Ketoacidosis): Real Life In The Emergency Room

Dka (diabetic Ketoacidosis): Real Life In The Emergency Room

This is the first in a series from Susan Dupont RN BSN who is an Emergency Room Nurse and contributor at NRSNG.com . . . Click to View All Articles in the “Real Life in the ER Series” Every patient is a mystery that needs to be solved. Some are easy, some are complex, some aren’t solvable, but the thrill of a good challenge is what keeps me coming back for more. The emergency room is full of unsolved mystery’s. Every once in a while a mystery worth writing about comes along. Altered Mental Status? It was like any normal shift. I had just discharged a patient and walked them out of the ER to turn around and see an EMS stretcher waiting to enter my room. I hadn’t even cleaned the room yet. I grabbed a piece of paper and pen and walked into my favorite type of patient, Altered Mental Status. This patient, a 20-year-old female, had been found wandering around the streets and stumbling around. She didn’t know her name and when she attempted to talk, random words were coming out of her mouth. She would only respond to a sternal rub and her breath was fruity. Vital signs: BP 80/48 mmHg Respirations of 32 Heart rate 125 bpm (sinus tachycardia on her EKG). After getting a reading of >500 blood glucose on the glucometer, we started the search for an IV. This was the challenge of the night. This little girl had absolutely tiny veins that were hidden. Her first IV gave us blood but after starting a bolus of normal saline the line infiltrated, causing a grape sized lump on her forearm. The next IV was in her hand and it worked but was only a 22 gauge. We needed better IV access. After using the infrared goggles and ultrasound we got 2 IV’s, one in each antecubital. Suspicious of Diabetic Ketoacidosis, her lab work confirmed the diagnosis. Her blood work showed: Glucose Continue reading >>

Emergency Management Of Diabetic Ketoacidosis In Adults

Emergency Management Of Diabetic Ketoacidosis In Adults

Selected References These references are in PubMed. This may not be the complete list of references from this article. Articles from Emergency Medicine Journal : EMJ are provided here courtesy of BMJ Publishing Group Continue reading >>

Treatment Of Diabetic Ketoacidosis In The Emergency Department Utilizing A Web Based Insulin Infusion Algorithm

Treatment Of Diabetic Ketoacidosis In The Emergency Department Utilizing A Web Based Insulin Infusion Algorithm

American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE) Annual Scientific & Clinical Congress Authors Joseph Aloi,1 Raymie McFarland,2 Margaret Bachand,3 Courtenay Harrison3 Ongoing efforts at improving quality metrics in the care of persons with diabetes frequently focus on avoiding unnecessary hospitalizations, decreasing length of stay and avoiding readmission to hospital following discharge. Our prior experience with Glucommander, a web based insulin dosing algorithm, in inpatient insulin protocols suggested that its use in the emergency department (ED) would be safe. We previously studied the effectiveness of the Glucommander system for the treatment of mild to moderate Diabetic Ketoacidosis (DKA) in the ED and reported early data on 15 patients. We now report a full 1 year experience with 35 patients studied. DKA is a frequent cause for hospital admissions – accounting for up to 8% of general medicine admissions in some hospital studies.4 Current standard treatment protocols involves use of intravenous insulin infusions monitored in the intensive care unit (ICU); raising both the cost and complexity of care. Methods 35 Patients seen in the ED diagnosed with DKA during the 2012 calendar year were reviewed. All patients were studied at a single site – Virginia Beach General Hospital (VGBH) a 300 bed community hospital within the Sentara healthcare system. Patients seen in the ED with either significant hyperglycemia (glucose >300 mg/dL) or DKA were placed on the Glucomander protocol. Patients were then monitored for readiness to be discharged or need for admission. Adult patients with blood glucose >250 mg/dL, a positive anion gap and/or ketonuria were eligible to participate. Patients with severe acidosis (pH <7.0 or serum bicarbonate <10 nmol/L), or a concomi Continue reading >>

Diabetic Ketoacidosis In Dogs

Diabetic Ketoacidosis In Dogs

My dog is diabetic. He has been doing pretty well overall, but recently he became really ill. He stopped eating well, started drinking lots of water, and got really weak. His veterinarian said that he had a condition called “ketoacidosis,” and he had to spend several days in the hospital. I’m not sure I understand this disorder. Diabetic ketoacidosis is a medical emergency that occurs when there is not enough insulin in the body to control blood sugar (glucose) levels. The body can’t use glucose properly without insulin, so blood glucose levels get very high, and the body creates ketone bodies as an emergency fuel source. When these are broken down, it creates byproducts that cause the body’s acid/base balance to shift, and the body becomes more acidic (acidosis), and it can’t maintain appropriate fluid balance. The electrolyte (mineral) balance becomes disrupted which can lead to abnormal heart rhythms and abnormal muscle function. If left untreated, diabetic ketoacidosis is fatal. How could this disorder have happened? If a diabetic dog undergoes a stress event of some kind, the body secretes stress hormones that interfere with appropriate insulin activity. Examples of stress events that can lead to diabetic ketoacidosis include infection, inflammation, and heart disease. What are the signs of diabetic ketoacidosis? The signs of diabetic ketoacidosis include: Excessive thirst/drinking Increased urination Lethargy Weakness Vomiting Increased respiratory rate Decreased appetite Weight loss (unplanned) with muscle wasting Dehydration Unkempt haircoat These same clinical signs can occur with other medical conditions, so it is important for your veterinarian to perform appropriate diagnostic tests to determine if diabetic ketoacidosis in truly the issue at hand Continue reading >>

Diabetic Ketoacidosis Treatment & Management

Diabetic Ketoacidosis Treatment & Management

Approach Considerations Managing diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) in an intensive care unit during the first 24-48 hours always is advisable. When treating patients with DKA, the following points must be considered and closely monitored: It is essential to maintain extreme vigilance for any concomitant process, such as infection, cerebrovascular accident, myocardial infarction, sepsis, or deep venous thrombosis. It is important to pay close attention to the correction of fluid and electrolyte loss during the first hour of treatment. This always should be followed by gradual correction of hyperglycemia and acidosis. Correction of fluid loss makes the clinical picture clearer and may be sufficient to correct acidosis. The presence of even mild signs of dehydration indicates that at least 3 L of fluid has already been lost. Patients usually are not discharged from the hospital unless they have been able to switch back to their daily insulin regimen without a recurrence of ketosis. When the condition is stable, pH exceeds 7.3, and bicarbonate is greater than 18 mEq/L, the patient is allowed to eat a meal preceded by a subcutaneous (SC) dose of regular insulin. Insulin infusion can be discontinued 30 minutes later. If the patient is still nauseated and cannot eat, dextrose infusion should be continued and regular or ultra–short-acting insulin should be administered SC every 4 hours, according to blood glucose level, while trying to maintain blood glucose values at 100-180 mg/dL. The 2011 JBDS guideline recommends the intravenous infusion of insulin at a weight-based fixed rate until ketosis has subsided. Should blood glucose fall below 14 mmol/L (250 mg/dL), 10% glucose should be added to allow for the continuation of fixed-rate insulin infusion. [19, 20] In established patient Continue reading >>

Diabetic Ketoacidosis

Diabetic Ketoacidosis

Practice Essentials 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. Signs and symptoms The most common early symptoms of DKA are the insidious increase in polydipsia and polyuria. The following are other signs and symptoms of DKA: Nausea and vomiting; may be associated with diffuse abdominal pain, decreased appetite, and anorexia 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: See Clinical Presentation for more detail. Diagnosis On examination, general findings of DKA may include the following: Characteristic acetone (ketotic) breath odor In addition, evaluate patients for signs of possible intercurrent illnesses such as MI, UTI, pneumonia, and perinephric abscess. Search for signs of infection is mandatory in all cases. Testing Initial and repeat laboratory studies for patients with DKA include the following: Serum electrolyte levels (eg, potassium, sodium, chloride, magnesium, calcium, phosphorus) Note that high serum glucose levels may lead to dilutional hyponatremia; high triglyceride levels may lead to factitious low glucose levels; and high levels of ketone bodies may lead to factitious elevation of creatinine levels. Continue reading >>

Diabetic Ketoacidosis

Diabetic Ketoacidosis

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:[1] 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.[2] 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.[2] 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 >>

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