Alcoholic Ketoacidosis KOL

Acetaldehyde is metabolized further to acetic acid by aldehyde dehydrogenase. Both steps require the reduction of nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+) to reduced nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NADH). KOL does not provide healthcare advice, medical diagnosis or treatment. Alternative causes alcoholic ketoacidosis symptoms of death were excluded based on all postmortem investigation results. Circumstantial elements, autopsy and histology did not suggest exposure to cold or hypothermia as a contributing factor to death in any of these cases. Limiting the amount of alcohol you drink will help prevent this condition.

Ketones are a type of acid that form when the body breaks down fat for energy. Prolonged vomiting leads to dehydration, which decreases renal perfusion, thereby limiting urinary excretion of ketoacids. Moreover, volume depletion increases the concentration of counter-regulatory hormones, further stimulating lipolysis and ketogenesis. With these tests, the doctor could find evidence of diabetes, which will require specialized treatment. If a patient has a concurrent illness or condition along with ketoacidosis, the next steps may need to be different.

Alcoholic ketosis

Support groups can be a valuable source of support and can be combined with medication and therapy. This goal can usually be achieved through the administration of dextrose and saline solutions (see Treatment).

What does alcoholic ketoacidosis smell like?

The alcoholic ketoacidosis smell is like acetone or nail polish remover, noticeable when someone exhales ketone molecules. The diabetic form of ketoacidosis may have a sweet and fruity smell rather than one like acetone.

The main source of the large anion gap is the accumulation of acetoacetate and beta-hydroxybutyrate in blood that can be detected, along with acetone, in both blood and urine. In some series, most patients presented with metabolic acidosis with compensatory hyperventilation. Other patients may have combinations of metabolic acidosis, primary respiratory alkalosis due to abdominal pain and metabolic alkalosis secondary to vomiting (Fulop, 1993). In general, the prognosis for a patient presenting with AKA is good as long as the condition is identified and treated early. Delayed presentation or diagnosis may result in end-organ damage such as acute renal failure with tubular necrosis.[12] The long-term prognosis of patients diagnosed with AKA depends on the severity of their underlying alcohol abuse disorder rather than AKA itself.


The prognosis for alcoholic ketoacidosis is good as long as it’s treated early. However, the long-term prognosis depends on the severity of the underlying alcohol abuse disorder. The major causes of death in people with alcoholic ketoacidosis are diseases that occur along with the alcoholic ketoacidosis and may have caused it, such as pancreatitis, gastrointestinal bleeding, and alcohol withdrawal. Pancreatic amylase activity and gamma glutamyl transferase were elevated in all subjects. These results may suggest the existence of underlying pancreatic and liver diseases, such as alcoholic hepatitis of fatty liver, not completely unexpected in chronic alcoholics.

alcoholic ketoacidosis diagnosis

This activity illustrates the evaluation and treatment of alcoholic ketoacidosis and explains the role of the interprofessional team in managing patients with this condition. There was initial concern for acute liver failure until the patient’s hepatic function panel returned and argued against this diagnosis. Warfarin overdose was also considered, although the patient repeatedly denied this and reports he did not have access to his medications. Further, vitamin K administration in our patient resulted in normalization of his INR. The presumptive diagnosis of AKA was made, and the patient was treated with two, 250 ml boluses of 5% dextrose in normal saline spaced out over 1.5 hours given his history of heart failure, and then 5% dextrose in half normal saline at 75 mL/hour, 100 mg intravenous thiamine, and 10 mg of oral vitamin K. He was also placed on CIWA protocol while in the ED and received 1 mg of oral lorazepam.

Distinguishing between toxic alcohol ingestion vs alcoholic ketoacidosis: how can we tell the difference?

Acetoacetate and beta-hydroxybutyrate formation in alcoholic ketoacidosis has several causes. It also occurs in response to starvation and the extracellular fluid volume depletion arising from vomiting, decreased fluid intake and inhibition of antidiuretic hormone secretion by alcohol. Moreover, dehydration and volume contraction impair the excretion of ketones by the kidneys, leading to further elevation in ketone levels.

Can alcohol induced diabetes reversed?

Type 1 diabetes cannot be reversed, but you can manage symptoms by maintaining a healthy lifestyle. While it may also be difficult to reverse Type 2 diabetes, you can make great strides in maintaining and improving your health with smart dietary decisions, which includes limiting alcohol use.

Additionally, glycated hemoglobin levels were measured and found to be normal in all cases. Decreased serum chloride and bicarbonate levels reflect the acid-base disturbances as well as the presence and severity of vomiting. Glucose concentrations in the blood and urine are usually normal, though both hypoglycemia and mild hyperglycemia may occur.


Moreover, similar findings have recently been described in a series of fatal cases of diabetic ketoacidosis in the absence of underlying bacterial infections (Palmiere et al., 2013b). The entity of alcoholic ketoacidosis, sometimes called alcoholic acidosis in the literature, was first described by Dillon et al. in 1940. In this report, the authors described a series of nine patients who had episodes of severe ketoacidosis in the absence of diabetes mellitus. All of these patients also had evidence of prolonged, excessive alcohol consumption (Dillon et al., 1940; Höjer, 1996; Tanaka et al., 2004; McGuire et al., 2006). If you have symptoms of alcoholic ketoacidosis, your doctor will perform a physical examination. They will also ask about your health history and alcohol consumption.

alcoholic ketoacidosis diagnosis

Alcohol withdrawal, in combination with nausea and vomiting, makes most patients agitated. However, if an AKA patient is lethargic or comatose, an alternative cause should be sought. For over 50 years, we’ve been administering evidence-based treatments with a compassionate approach to help patients find lasting freedom from addiction. We’ll be with you for life, with various inpatient and outpatient services, including an alumni support network.

Non-diabetic ketoacidosis: A case of alcoholic ketoacidosis accompanied by hyperglycemia

All relevant ethical issues were identified and discussed with the local Ethical Committee. All cases collected for this study underwent medico-legal autopsies as requested by the public prosecutor. Biochemical analyses were performed as part of the medico-legal investigations. No further ethical approval was necessary to perform biochemical investigations in the selected cases.

alcoholic ketoacidosis diagnosis

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