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SAMJ: South African Medical Journal

versão On-line ISSN 2078-5135
versão impressa ISSN 0256-9574


CHAUSSE, J M et al. Starvation ketoacidosis in pregnancy presenting as euglycaemic, high anion gap metabolic acidosis: A case report highlighting the significance of early recognition and prompt intervention. SAMJ, S. Afr. med. j. [online]. 2018, vol.108, n.8, pp.636-639. ISSN 2078-5135.

Starvation ketoacidosis (SKA) constitutes an important consideration in the pregnant patient who presents with profound metabolic acidosis. Pregnancy-related changes predispose the patient to develop SKA following relatively short periods (12 - 14 hours) of 'starvation'. Patients also typically look clinically well in relation to the significant metabolic derangements that accompany the condition. Prompt recognition and early institution of appropriate therapy is therefore extremely important in terms of optimising maternal and fetal outcome. We describe a pregnant patient with SKA who presented with profound euglycaemic ketoacidosis that resolved rapidly following the early initiation of appropriate therapy. Furthermore, appropriate therapy resulted in our patient avoiding the need for an emergency caesarean section, which is often reported in this scenario. The ensuing discussion addresses SKA in pregnancy, the unique features of our patient, and management considerations from a maternal and fetal perspective. We also discuss the various causes of ketoacidosis such as diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA), euglycaemic DKA, alcohol-induced euglycaemic ketoacidosis and SKA in pregnant patients.

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