Episode 60.0 – Aggressive Resuscitation of Diabetic Ketoacidosis

This week we discuss how to aggressively resuscitate patients with DKA as well as dispelling some dogmatic teachings on the topic.

August 22nd, 2016 Download Leave a Comment Tags: , , , ,

Show Notes

Take Home Points

  1. DKA should be suspected in any patient with altered mental status and hyperglycemia. Get a VBG (ABG not necessary) to confirm the diagnosis.
  2. Hypokalemia kills in DKA. Aggresively replete potassium and consider holding insulin, which drops serum potassium, until K is greater than 3.5
  3. The insulin bolus isn’t necessary and appears to cause more episodes of hypokalemia. Just start insulin as an infusion at 0.14 units/kg
  4. Be vigilant about cerebral edema. Any change or deterioration in mental status should prompt treatment and evaluation. Mannitol in the euvolemic, normotensive patient and 3% hypertonic saline in the hypotensive/hypovolemic patient
  5. Finally, don’t forge to always hunt down the underlying cause of the DKA. Infection and non-compliance is the most common so liberally administer broad spectrum antibiotics if you’ve got even a hint of infection brewing


Additional Reading

LITFL: EBM Diabetic Ketoacidosis

Core EM: DKA

Core EM: Episode 13.0 – Diabetic Ketoacidosis: A Case

emDocs: Myths in DKA Management

REBEL EM: Is There Any Benefit to an Initial Insulin Bolus in Diabetic Ketoacidosis?


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