Alcoholic ketoacidosis is the buildup of ketones in the blood due to alcohol use. Ketones are a type of acid that form when the body breaks down fat for energy.
The condition is an acute form of metabolic acidosis, a condition in which there is too much acid in body fluids.
Ketoacidosis - alcoholic; Alcohol use - alcoholic ketoacidosis
Alcoholic ketoacidosis is caused by very heavy alcohol use. It most often occurs in a malnourished person who drinks large amounts of alcohol every day.
Symptoms of alcoholic ketoacidosis include:
Treatment may involve fluids (salt and sugar solution) given through a vein. You may need to have frequent blood tests. You may get vitamin supplements to treat malnutrition caused by excess alcohol use.
People with this condition are usually admitted to the hospital, often to the intensive care unit (ICU). Alcohol use is stopped to help recovery. Medicines may be given to prevent alcohol withdrawal symptoms.
Prompt medical attention improves the overall outlook. How severe the alcohol use is, and the presence of liver disease or other problems, may also affect the outlook.
This can be a life-threatening condition. Complications may include:
If you or someone else has symptoms of alcoholic ketoacidosis, seek emergency medical help.
Limiting the amount of alcohol you drink may help prevent this condition.
Finnell JT. Alcohol-related disease. In: Walls RM, Hockberger RS, Gausche-Hill RM, eds. Rosen's Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2018:chap 142.
Seifter JL. Acid-base disorders. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 25th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 118.
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