Diabetic ketoacidosis complicating pregnancy

S.N. Bryant*, C.L. Herrera, D.B. Nelson , F.G. Cunningham | JNPM 2017;

BACKGROUND: Although diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) in pregnancy can result in significant adverse consequences for both mother and fetus, the response to treatment, time course of recovery, and perinatal outcomes have not been well studied in pregnancy.
OBJECTIVE: We examined the precipitating factors, laboratory abnormalities, treatment strategies, and clinical recovery in pregnancies complicated by DKA.
STUDY DESIGN: This is a retrospective cohort study of pregnancies complicated by DKA between October 1999 and June 2015. The diagnosis was verified by hyperglycemia; anion gap >12 mEq/L, pH <7.3, HCO3 <15 mEq/L; and the presence of ketones. Each episode of DKA was reviewed and subsequent perinatal outcomes analyzed.
RESULTS: During this period, we identified 33 women with 40 admissions (incidence: 0.2%). The majority of women had type 1 diabetes (67%), and almost all presented with nausea and vomiting (97%). Over half had poor compliance with prescribed insulin. The initial mean blood glucose was 380 mg/dL, within 6 hours, it was <200 mg/dL. By 12 hours, the acidosis had resolved in 90% of patients.
CONCLUSION: Nausea and vomiting is a prominent presenting feature of DKA in pregnancy. With aggressive insulin and resuscitation, hyperglycemia and acidosis improve rapidly. With current treatment, good perinatal outcomes can be expected.

*Corresponding Author: 

Stefanie N. Bryant, MD, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, 5323 Harry Hines Boulevard, Dallas, TX 75390-9032, USA. Tel.: +1 214 648 3113; Fax: +1 214 648 7262; E-mail: Stefanie.Bryant@UTSouthwestern.edu.