Lab Case 47

A 70 year old man presents to your ED feeling unwell with abdominal pain and vomiting for two days. He has a history of NIDDM, HTN and high Cholesterol. He is immediately triaged to your resuscitation bay, placed on 15 litres oxygen by non rebreather mask and iv access is obtained.


BP = 160/50

PR 115/min

T 37.5 Celsius

RR 40/min

His ABG and blood results are as follows

pH  7.030  (7.36-7.44)

pCO2    30.6   (35-45 mmHg)

pO2       65.8

HCO3    8   (24 +- 2 mmol/l)

Na   119  (137-145 mmol/l)

K      7.3   (3.3 -5 mmol/l)

Cl     87     (99-111 mmol/l)

Glucose   42  (3.4-6 mmol/l)

ketones >7

Lactate  5.4   (<2)

troponin  0.06  (<0.05)

Urea   25.9    (3-7 mmol/l)

Creat   155   (<130 umol/l)

WCC 22.8  (4 -11)

N    21   (4- 7)

Plt   416   (140-400)

Hb   103

CRP 155


1. Describe the abnormalities

2. Interpret the findings

3. What are your priorities in management



1 thought on “Lab Case 47

  1. Unwell elderly patient, significantly tachopnoeic, mild tachycardia and low grade fever. Managed appropriately in a resus staffed area.

    Metabolic acidosis
    Expected CO2– 1.5×8+8= 20
    Element of respiratory acidosis.

    pO2 of 65.8 on 15l high flow oxygen suggesting signifiant hypoxia.

    Anion Gap: Na-Cl-HCO3—- 24
    High anion gap metabolic acidosis with differentials in this case including DKA, raised lactate, renal failure (uraemia), sepsis and consideration of toxins if relevant

    Osmolality 2x Na+urea+glucose= 305.9 Raised osmolality but as per most definitions of HHS osmolality of 320 usually cut off.

    Significant hyponatraemia. Corrected Na (accounting for hyperglycaemia)= 129
    Hypochloraemia likely secondary to hyponatraemia

    Severe hyperkalaemia requiring immediate correction with Calcium gluconate for cardiac stability and insulin to correct the K+. Even accounting for acidaemia still significant hyperkalaemia.

    Raised glucose of 42 in patient with background of Diabetes- ?DKA ?HHS.
    Ketones>7. Could be related to DKA state vs starvation state

    Significant raised lactate with causes including shock/hypoperfusions, DKA, sepsis

    Renal failure noted. Needs comparison to old. is patient making urine? Close urine output needs to be observed given unwell patient and renal impairment. Given acidotic state and hyperkalaemia if not producing urine may require haemodialysis. Urea significantly raised more than creatinine. Consideration of other causes such as GI bleed may need to be addressed.

    Small trop rise likely to be secondary to current state as opposed to additional cardiac cause but requires cardiac monitoring (also given hyperkaelamia).

    Raised WCC/CRP likely due to the underlying infective cause.

    In conclusion unwell elderly patient with multiple co morbidities. High anion gap metabolic acidosis. Likely DKA (differential would be HHS with significant dehydration and starvation) driven by underlying infection. Significant hypoxia despite high flow oxygen ?underlying respiratory disease

    Priorities of treatment
    Resus with fluids with close monitoring of urine output (catheter)
    ECG/Cardiac Monitoring
    10ml 10% Calcium Gluconate
    Insulin infusion to bring hyperglycaemia down with bolus to correct hyperkalaemia.
    Bloods/CXR/Urine looking for cause infection
    ?Broad spectrum antibiotics
    Admit to high dependency unit
    Close observation of oxygen sats- if failing to respond may require intubation.
    High risk arrhythmia.

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