Fatal cerebral edema in a young adult with diabetic ketoacidosis: blame the bicarbonate
Natarajan S, Kulkarni R, Tangri A. Fatal Cerebral Edema in a Young Adult with Diabetic Ketoacidosis: Blame the Bicarbonate? Case Rep Crit Care. 2020 Apr 30;2020:5917459. doi: 10.1155/2020/5917459. PMID: 32411486; PMCID: PMC7210517
Cerebral edema is a devastating complication of DKA which is extremely rare in adults but is the leading cause of diabetes-related death in the pediatric population. Newly diagnosed diabetes, younger age, first episode of DKA, severity of DKA at presentation, and administration of bicarbonate are predictive of cerebral edema in DKA. We present a case of a young adult with DKA as the presenting symptom of diabetes, whose clinical course was complicated by renal failure, refractory shock, and cerebral edema. This case addresses the controversy surrounding bicarbonate therapy in DKA and its possible role in the development of a rare fatal complication of DKA.