What causes alcoholic ketoacidosis (AKA)?

Updated: Aug 27, 2020
  • Author: George Ansstas, MD; Chief Editor: Romesh Khardori, MD, PhD, FACP  more...
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Answer

Most cases of AKA occur when a person with poor nutritional status due to long-standing alcohol abuse who has been on a drinking binge suddenly decreases energy intake because of abdominal pain, nausea, or vomiting. In addition, AKA is often precipitated by another medical illness such as infection or pancreatitis.

AKA results from the accumulation of the hydroxybutyric acid, and acetoacetic acid (true ketoacid), and acetone. [5, 12] Such accumulation is caused by the complex interaction stemming from alcohol cessation, decreased energy intake, volume depletion, and the metabolic effects of hormonal imbalance.


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