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Curr Med Res Opin. 2009 May;25(5):1197-207. doi: 10.1185/03007990902863105 .

Prevention of diabetic ketoacidosis and self-monitoring of ketone bodies: an overview.

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IMIB Institute for Medical Informatics and Biostatistics, Basel, Switzerland.



Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) is associated with significant morbidity and mortality. Self-monitoring of ketone bodies by diabetes patients can be done using blood or urine. We compared the two self-monitoring methods and summarized recent developments in the epidemiology and management of DKA.


MEDLINE and EMBASE were searched for relevant publications addressing the epidemiology, management and prevention of DKA up to 2009. The current, relevant publications, along with the authors' clinical and professional experience, were used to synthesize this narrative review.


Despite considerable advances in diabetes therapy, key epidemiological figures related to DKA remained nearly unchanged during the last decades at a global level. Prevention of DKA - especially in sick day management - relies on intensive self-monitoring of blood glucose and subsequent, appropriate therapy adjustments. Self-monitoring of ketone bodies during hyperglycemia can provide important, complementary information on the metabolic state. Both methods for self-monitoring of ketone bodies at home are clinically reliable and there is no published evidence favoring one method with respect to DKA prevention.


DKA is still a severe complication potentially arising during prolonged hyperglycemic episodes with possibly fatal consequences. Education of patients and their social environment to promote frequent testing - especially during sick days - and to lower their glucose levels, as well as to recognize the early symptoms of hyperglycemia and DKA is of paramount importance in preventing the development of severe DKA. Both methods for self-monitoring of ketone bodies are safe and clinically reliable.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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