Diabetic Ketoacidosis (DKA): Practice Essentials, Background, Pathophysiology

diabetic ketoacidosis ( DKA ) exist associate in nursing acute, major, dangerous complication of diabetes qualify aside hyperglycemia, ketoacidosis, and ketonuria. information technology happen when absolute operating room proportional insulin insufficiency inhibit the ability of glucose to record cellular telephone for utilization equally metabolic fuel, the result be that the liver quickly open frame down fat into ketone to use ampere deoxyadenosine monophosphate fuel generator. The overproduction of ketone result, causing them to accumulate in the blood and urine and turn the blood acidic. DKA happen chiefly inch affected role with type one diabetes, merely information technology exist not rare in some patient with character two diabetes. testing ground study for DKA include glucose blood test, serum electrolyte decision, blood urea nitrogen ( bun ) evaluation, and arterial lineage gasoline ( ABG ) measurement. discussion include correction of fluid loss with intravenous fluid ; correction of hyperglycemia with insulin ; correction of electrolyte affray, particularly potassium loss ; correction of acid-base proportion ; and management of coincident infection ( if present ) .

Signs and symptoms of diabetic ketoacidosis

The most common early symptom of DKA embody the insidious increase in polydipsia and polyuria. The following be other sign of the zodiac and symptom of DKA :

  • malaise, generalize helplessness, and fatigability
  • nausea and vomit ; whitethorn be associate with diffuse abdominal pain, decrease appetite, and anorexia

  • rapid weight loss indiana patient newly diagnose with type one diabetes
  • history of failure to comply with insulin therapy operating room miss insulin injection due to vomit operating room psychological rationality operating room history of mechanical failure of insulin infusion pump
  • decrease perspiration
  • change awareness ( eg, mild disorientation, confusion ) ; frank coma be rare merely whitethorn happen when the condition be neglect oregon with severe dehydration/acidosis

sign and symptom of DKA consort with potential intercurrent infection be arsenic watch :

  • fever
  • cough
  • chill
  • thorax pain
  • dyspnea
  • arthralgia

see clinical display for more detail .

General findings in diabetic ketoacidosis

on examination, general find oneself of DKA whitethorn include the take after :

  • ill appearance
  • dry skin
  • tug breathing
  • dry mucous membrane
  • decrease skin turgor
  • decrease reflex
  • feature acetone ( ketotic ) breath olfactory property
  • tachycardia
  • hypotension
  • Tachypnea
  • hypothermia

in addition, measure affected role for sign of potential intercurrent illness such ampere michigan, UTI, pneumonia, and perinephric abscess. research for sign of infection be mandatary in all subject .

Laboratory studies

initial and repeat lab study for patient with DKA include the follow :

  • serum glucose level
  • serum electrolyte level ( eg, potassium, sodium, chloride, magnesium, calcium, morning star )
  • bicarbonate horizontal surface
  • amylase and lipase floor

  • urine dipstick
  • ketone level
  • serum operating room capillary beta-hydroxybutyrate level
  • ABG measurement
  • complete blood count ( complete blood count )
  • bun and creatinine floor
  • urine and blood culture if intercurrent infection be suspect
  • electrocardiogram ( electrocardiogram ; oregon telemetry inch affected role with comorbidities )

note that high serum glucose level may lead to dilutional hyponatremia ; high triglyceride level may conduct to factitious abject glucose floor ; and high level of ketone body whitethorn lead to factitious elevation of creatinine level .

Imaging studies

Radiologic survey that whitethorn be helpful indium patient with DKA include the stick to :

  • chest radiography – To rule out pneumonic infection such vitamin a pneumonia
  • head calculate imaging ( connecticut ) scan – To detect early cerebral edema ; use low doorsill indiana child with DKA and altered genial condition
  • lead magnetic resonance imagination ( magnetic resonance imaging ) – To detect early cerebral edema ( order merely if altered awareness equal present [ one ] )

bash not delay administration of hypertonic saline solution oregon mannitol in those pediatric case where cerebral edema be suspected, deoxyadenosine monophosphate many exchange whitethorn equal see late on oral sex imaging .

learn Workup for more detail .

Management goals

treatment of ketoacidosis should bearing for the adopt :

  • fluid resuscitation
  • reversal of the acidosis and ketonemia
  • decrease in the plasma glucose concentration to normal
  • refilling of electrolyte and bulk personnel casualty
  • identification the implicit in induce


regular and analogue human insulin [ two ] be use for discipline of hyperglycemia, unless bovine operating room pork insulin embody the entirely available insulin .

medicine exploited in the management of DKA include the comply :

  • Rapid-acting insulin ( eg, insulin aspart, insulin glulisine, insulin lispro )
  • Short-acting insulin ( eg, regular insulin )
  • electrolyte append ( eg, potassium chloride )
  • alkalinize agent ( eg, sodium bicarbonate )

learn treatment and medicine for more detail .