Acute Metabolic Emergencies in Diabetes: DKA, HHS and EDKA

Muhammad Muneer, Ijaz Akbar
Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology 2020 June 3
Emergency admissions due to acute metabolic crisis in patients with diabetes remain some of the most common and challenging conditions. DKA (Diabetic Ketoacidosis), HHS (Hyperglycaemic Hyperosmolar State) and recently focused EDKA (Euglycaemic Diabetic Ketoacidosis) are life-threatening different entities. DKA and HHS have distinctly different pathophysiology but basic management protocols are the same. EDKA is just like DKA but without hyperglycaemia. T1D, particularly children are vulnerable to DKA and T2D, particularly elderly with comorbidities are vulnerable to HHS. But these are not always the rule, these acute conditions are often occur in different age groups with diabetes. It is essential to have a coordinated care from the multidisciplinary team to ensure the timely delivery of right treatment. DKA and HHS, in many instances can present as a mixed entity as well. Mortality rate is higher for HHS than DKA but incidences of DKA are much higher than HHS. The prevalence of HHS in children and young adults are increasing due to exponential growth of obesity and increasing T2D cases in this age group. Following introduction of SGLT2i (Sodium-GLucose co-Transporter-2 inhibitor) for T2D and off-label use in T1D, some incidences of EDKA has been reported. Healthcare professionals should be more vigilant during acute illness in diabetes patients on SGLT2i without hyperglycaemia to rule out EDKA. Middle aged, mildly obese and antibody negative patients who apparently resemble as T2D without any precipitating causes sometime end up with DKA which is classified as KPD (Ketosis-prone diabetes). Many cases can be prevented by following 'Sick day rules'. Better access to medical care, structured diabetes education to patients and caregivers are key measures to prevent acute metabolic crisis.

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