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Why Is Potassium Given In Dka?

Management Of Diabetic Ketoacidosis And Other Hyperglycemic Emergencies

Management Of Diabetic Ketoacidosis And Other Hyperglycemic Emergencies

Understand the management of patients with diabetic ketoacidosis and other hyperglycemic emergencies. ​ The acute onset of hyperglycemia with attendant metabolic derangements is a common presentation in all forms of diabetes mellitus. The most current data from the National Diabetes Surveillance Program of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that during 2005-2006, at least 120,000 hospital discharges for diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) occurred in the United States,(1) with an unknown number of discharges related to hyperosmolar hyperglycemic state (HHS). The clinical presentations of DKA and HHS can overlap, but they are usually separately characterized by the presence of ketoacidosis and the degree of hyperglycemia and hyperosmolarity, though HHS will occasionally have some mild degree of ketosis. DKA is defined by a plasma glucose level >250 mg/dL, arterial pH <7.3, the presence of serum ketones, a serum bicarbonate measure <18 mEq/L, and a high anion gap metabolic acidosis. The level of normal anion gap may vary slightly by individual institutional standards. The anion gap also needs to be corrected in the presence of hypoalbuminemia, a common condition in the critically ill. Adjusted anion gap = observed anion gap + 0.25 * ([normal albumin]-[observed albumin]), where the given albumin concentrations are in g/L; if given in g/dL, the correction factor is 2.5.(3) HHS is defined by a plasma glucose level >600 mg/dL, with an effective serum osmolality >320 mOsm/kg. HHS was originally named hyperosmolar hyperglycemic nonketotic coma; however, this name was changed because relatively few patients exhibit coma-like symptoms. Effective serum osmolality = 2*([Na] + [K]) + glucose (mg/dL)/18.(2) Urea is freely diffusible across cell membranes, thus it will Continue reading >>

Diabetic Ketoacidosis (dka)

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 >>

Board Review: Diabetic Ketoacidosis And Total Body Potassium

Board Review: Diabetic Ketoacidosis And Total Body Potassium

A 23 y/o M with a PMHx of Type 1 DM arrives to your ED reporting nausea, vomiting and elevated blood sugars on his home monitor. His initial blood work indicates he is in DKA. For which of the following potassium levels should initiation of an insulin drip be delayed for potassium repletion? (scroll down for the answer) a) < 3.0 mEq/L b) < 3.3 mEq/L c) < 3.5 mEq/L d) < 3.8 mEq/L e) < 4.0 mEq/L The correct answer is b) < 3.3 mEq/L Following the American Diabetes Association guidelines for the treatment of DKA, patients with hypokalemia on initial labs of 3.3 mEq/L or less must have potassium replacement with a delay in insulin treatment until the potassium concentration is restored to > 3.3 mEq/L Patients in DKA are low in total body potassium and their serum concentration is falsely elevated due to extracellular shift. On average, patients will have a potassium deficit of 3-5 mEq/kg. Treatment with insulin will cause a shift of potassium intracellularly which can lead to severe hypokalemia and cardiac dysrhythmia. All DKA patients will require potassium replacement to prevent hypokalemia. Generally 20mEq of potassium in each liter of fluid given will maintain a normal serum potassium concentration. The ADA Guidelines for DKA can be found here: A Core review of Hypokalemia in the ED was recently posted on emDOCs by Dr. Swaminathan, see it here: 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 >>

Dka And Potassium

Dka And Potassium

1 So I had a situation the other day when I came on shift and took a patient from an RN, and she goes, "This patient has DKA, started the insulin drip, K was 6.3 so we gave Kayexalate..." I stopped her and was like, Kayexalate what the hell?! She said, "Well, the potassium was 6.3 and the doctor ordered it, so I gave it." When I worked ICU (at a different hospital), standard orders and hospital policy were 1) rehydrate, 2) insulin drip, 3) start KCl IV as you begin the insulin drip, even in the presence of elevated serum K+ levels, which is most likely transitory. DKA patients are significantly potassium-deficient as well as profoundly dehydrated, and as insulin is administered, K+ will influx back into the cell. I said all this and the RN looked at me like I was from bizarro world. Several of the other ER RNs seemed not to be aware of this, and the fact that the ER physician ordered Kayexalate was really hard for me to fathom. I shipped the patient to ICU not long after, so I don't know what happened. What do y'all think? I feel like maybe I should talk to our unit educator. We don't see nearly as much DKA in my suburban ER as we did in my nasty dirty central-city ICU... I feel like it's important that our RNs be competent in the pathophysiology and treatment of DKA, which is pretty significant as far as emergencies go. Continue reading >>

Management Of Adult Diabetic Ketoacidosis

Management Of Adult Diabetic Ketoacidosis

Go to: Abstract Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) is a rare yet potentially fatal hyperglycemic crisis that can occur in patients with both type 1 and 2 diabetes mellitus. Due to its increasing incidence and economic impact related to the treatment and associated morbidity, effective management and prevention is key. Elements of management include making the appropriate diagnosis using current laboratory tools and clinical criteria and coordinating fluid resuscitation, insulin therapy, and electrolyte replacement through feedback obtained from timely patient monitoring and knowledge of resolution criteria. In addition, awareness of special populations such as patients with renal disease presenting with DKA is important. During the DKA therapy, complications may arise and appropriate strategies to prevent these complications are required. DKA prevention strategies including patient and provider education are important. This review aims to provide a brief overview of DKA from its pathophysiology to clinical presentation with in depth focus on up-to-date therapeutic management. Keywords: DKA treatment, insulin, prevention, ESKD Go to: Introduction In 2009, there were 140,000 hospitalizations for diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) with an average length of stay of 3.4 days.1 The direct and indirect annual cost of DKA hospitalizations is 2.4 billion US dollars. Omission of insulin is the most common precipitant of DKA.2,3 Infections, acute medical illnesses involving the cardiovascular system (myocardial infarction, stroke) and gastrointestinal tract (bleeding, pancreatitis), diseases of the endocrine axis (acromegaly, Cushing’s syndrome), and stress of recent surgical procedures can contribute to the development of DKA by causing dehydration, increase in insulin counter-regulatory hor Continue reading >>

Severe Hyperkalaemia In Association With Diabetic Ketoacidosis In A Patient Presenting With Severe Generalized Muscle Weakness

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 [1]. 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 >>

Hyperkalaemia In Diabetic Ketoacidosis

Hyperkalaemia In Diabetic Ketoacidosis

Dear Editor, I have a brief comment on the informative ‘Lesson of the week’ by Moulik and colleagues, describing an association between hyperkalaemia and an ECG pattern suggesting acute myocardial infarction in a patient with diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA). One of the mechanisms of hyperkalaemia in DKA stated at the beginning of the Discussion is not strictly correct. It is inorganic acids, and not organic acids (including lactic acid), that cause hyperkalaemia as a result of potassium ions leaving cells in ‘exchange’ for hydrogen ion entry (and their intracellular buffering). In DKA, the key mechanism is lack of insulin, which is probably the most important short-term regulator of plasma potassium concentration (through stimulation of the cell ‘sodium’ pump – Na,K-ATPase) and defence against acute hyperkalaemia resulting from our daily intake of potassium (~80 mmol): The extracellular pool of potassium is around 65 mmol and could almost double after a single steak meal (~50 mmol), which is too rapid a change for compensatory renal excretion. In DKA, an additional mechanism is the osmotic shrinkage of cells as a result of the high plasma glucose concentration (and plasma osmolality), which steepens the intracellular to extracellular potassium concentration gradient and thereby causes an increase in potassium ion loss from cells. Of course, these observations do not materially alter the management of DKA, but only serve to emphasise the importance of inulin administration, glucose control and re-salination over the use (though not excluding it in severe metabolic acidosis) of bicarbonate, bearing in mind that such patients have usually become potassium depleted as a consequence of earlier increased renal losses, and therefore risk developing significant hypoka Continue reading >>

Management Of Diabetic Ketoacidosis In Adults

Management Of Diabetic Ketoacidosis In Adults

Management of diabetic ketoacidosis in adults Management of diabetic ketoacidosis in adults Insulin (blue dots) promotes glucose uptake in the liver and muscles, controlling blood sugar. Despite these losses, the increased delivery of potassium to the ECF from the intracellular space usually causes the serum concentration of potassium to be normal and, in some cases, high. This regular concentration of the ECF potassium creates the illusion of normalcy, despite the fact that total body potassium stores are almost always low. This concept becomes important in understanding the risk of potentially devastating hypokalemia in treating DKA. Insulin administration causes a rapid shift of potassium out of the ECF and into the cells. In addition, fluid resuscitation can be expected to cause a dilutional decrease in serum potassium concentration. For this reason, the ADA recommendations encompass a three-tiered approach to potassium regulation during fluid and insulin therapy for DKA: Patients with a serum potassium concentration >5.2 mEq/L should receive insulin and IV fluid without potassium, but the level should be checked every two hours.3 Patients with a serum potassium concentration between 3.3 and 5.2 mEq/L should have 20-30 mEq of potassium added to each liter of IV fluid with a goal to maintain a level of 4.0-5.0 mEq/L.3 The addition of potassium to the infusion should be delayed until urine output has been established. Patients with a serum potassium concentration <3.3 mEq/L should receive 20.0-30.0 mEq/hr of potassium until the concentration exceeds 3.3 mEq/L. These patients should not receive IV insulin until the serum potassium concentration is >3.3.3 Other electrolytes. Sodium: Sodium concentration may vary. Both sodium and water are lost during osmotic diuresis; Continue reading >>

Why Is There Hyperkalemia In Diabetic Ketoacidosis?

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 >>

Diabetic Ketoacidosis

Diabetic Ketoacidosis

Initial Evaluation Initial evaluation of patients with DKA includes diagnosis and treatment of precipitating factors (Table 14–18). The most common precipitating factor is infection, followed by noncompliance with insulin therapy.3 While insulin pump therapy has been implicated as a risk factor for DKA in the past, most recent studies show that with proper education and practice using the pump, the frequency of DKA is the same for patients on pump and injection therapy.19 Common causes by frequency Other causes Selected drugs that may contribute to diabetic ketoacidosis Infection, particularly pneumonia, urinary tract infection, and sepsis4 Inadequate insulin treatment or noncompliance4 New-onset diabetes4 Cardiovascular disease, particularly myocardial infarction5 Acanthosis nigricans6 Acromegaly7 Arterial thrombosis, including mesenteric and iliac5 Cerebrovascular accident5 Hemochromatosis8 Hyperthyroidism9 Pancreatitis10 Pregnancy11 Atypical antipsychotic agents12 Corticosteroids13 FK50614 Glucagon15 Interferon16 Sympathomimetic agents including albuterol (Ventolin), dopamine (Intropin), dobutamine (Dobutrex), terbutaline (Bricanyl),17 and ritodrine (Yutopar)18 DIFFERENTIAL DIAGNOSIS Three key features of diabetic acidosis are hyperglycemia, ketosis, and acidosis. The conditions that cause these metabolic abnormalities overlap. The primary differential diagnosis for hyperglycemia is hyperosmolar hyperglycemic state (Table 23,20), which is discussed in the Stoner article21 on page 1723 of this issue. Common problems that produce ketosis include alcoholism and starvation. Metabolic states in which acidosis is predominant include lactic acidosis and ingestion of drugs such as salicylates and methanol. Abdominal pain may be a symptom of ketoacidosis or part of the inci 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 >>

Profound Hypokalemia Associated With Severe Diabetic Ketoacidosis

Profound Hypokalemia Associated With Severe Diabetic Ketoacidosis

Go to: Abstract Hypokalemia is common during the treatment of diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA); however, severe hypokalemia at presentation prior to insulin treatment is exceedingly uncommon. A previously healthy 8-yr-old female presented with new onset type 1 diabetes mellitus, severe DKA (pH = 6.98), and profound hypokalemia (serum K = 1.3 mmol/L) accompanied by cardiac dysrhythmia. Insulin therapy was delayed for 9 h to allow replenishment of potassium to safe serum levels. Meticulous intensive care management resulted in complete recovery. This case highlights the importance of measuring serum potassium levels prior to initiating insulin therapy in DKA, judicious fluid and electrolyte management, as well as delaying and/or reducing insulin infusion rates in the setting of severe hypokalemia. Keywords: diabetic ketoacidosis, hypokalemia, insulin, low-dose insulin drip, pediatric Nearly one third of children with newly diagnosed type 1 diabetes present in diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA). Higher proportions of young children and those from disadvantaged socioeconomic groups present with DKA (1). DKA is the leading cause of mortality among children with diabetes, and electrolyte abnormalities are a recognized complication of DKA contributing to morbidity and mortality (2, 3). Total body potassium deficiency of 3-6 mEq/kg is expected at presentation of DKA due to osmotic diuresis, emesis, and secondary hyperaldosteronism; however, pretreatment serum potassium levels are usually not low due to the extracellular shift of potassium that occurs with acidosis and insulin deficiency (3, 4). After insulin treatment is initiated, potassium shifts intracellularly and serum levels decline. Replacement of potassium in intravenous fluids is the standard of care in treatment of DKA to prevent Continue reading >>

Diabetic Ketoacidosis

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, corticosteroids, second-generation anti-psychotics, and/or anti-convulsants may affect carbohydrate metabolism and volume status and, therefore, could precipitateDKA. Other factors: psychological problems, eating disorders, insulin pump malfunction, and drug abuse. It is now recognized that new onset T2DM can manifest with DKA. These patients are obese, mostly African Americans or Hispanics and have undiagnosed hyperglycemia, impaired insulin secretion, and insulin action. A recent report suggests that cocaine abuse is an independent risk factor associated with DKA recurrence. Pathophysiology In 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 >>

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