Diagnosis and Treatment of Alcoholic Ketoacidosis

Alcoholic ketoacidosis (AKA) is a common cause of wide anion gap metabolic acidosis in emergency room patients. This is especially true for in alcoholic patients with a recent history of alcoholic binge drinking, often on a background of poor oral intake. The common presenting symptoms of a patient with AKA are nausea, protract vomiting, and abdominal pain. The severity of acidosis in AKA can vary from mild to severe. AKA is usually associated with other electrolyte and acid-base disturbances. The key laboratory findings in AKA are elevated serum ketone with hypo-/normoglycemia. Early diagnosis of AKA and prompt treatment with appropriate dextrose-containing fluid replacement can correct metabolic acidosis rapidly and decrease the risk of complications.
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