Jan 1, 1976

Combating diabetic ketoacidosis and other hyperglycemic-ketoacidotic syndromes

Postgraduate Medicine
P Felig


Diabetic ketoacidosis is an acute medical emergency that requires immediate diagnosis and treatment. Diagnosis may be established rapidly by measurement of urinary glucose and ketones, arterial blood pH and blood gases, and serum ketones. Rapid infusion of large volumes of fluids and electrolytes, together with continuous infusion of low doses of insulin, provides effective restoration of fluid and electrolyte balance and correction of metabolic derangements. Hyperosmolar nonketotic coma is characterized by marked hyperglycemia in the absence of ketoacidosis and occurs usually in patients with mild adult-onset diabetes. Symptoms develop more slowly than in diabetic ketoacidosis. Treatment is the same for both conditions. In alcoholic ketoacidosis, hyperketonemia is present without hyperglycemia. The syndrome differs from diabetic ketoacidosis in that blood glucose levels are lower and glycosuria is absent. Treatment consists of intravenous administration of dextrose in water and, if necessary, of sodium bicarbonate. Insulin administration usually is not necessary.

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Mentioned in this Paper

Arterial Blood pH Measurement
Trichohepatoenteric Syndrome
Metabolic Process, Cellular
Diabetes Mellitus, Non-Insulin-Dependent
Ketone Bodies Measurement, Quantitative
Fluid and Electrolyte Balance
Blood Gas
Glucose, (beta-D)-Isomer

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