1. Donahey, Elisabeth PharmD, BCPS
  2. Folse, Stacey PharmD, MPH, BCPS


Diabetes, a chronic medical condition, continues to increase in prevalence. One of the most severe complications of diabetes, diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA), results from insulin deficiency and is a medical emergency that is frequently encountered in the emergency department. Prompt diagnosis, assessment of key laboratory values, appropriate treatment, and close monitoring are important to the successful treatment of this complex metabolic disorder. Fluid repletion and insulin administration are mainstays of DKA treatment and serve to restore normal hemodynamic status while decreasing the metabolic acidosis. Careful monitoring of glucose concentrations, vital signs, and electrolytes is essential to prevent complications arising from the treatment of DKA. This article provides an overview of the pathophysiology, presentation, diagnosis, treatment, monitoring, and complications of DKA.