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Tomomi Nakao First Department of Internal Medicine, Wakayama Medical University, Wakayama City, Wakayama, Japan

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Ken Takeshima First Department of Internal Medicine, Wakayama Medical University, Wakayama City, Wakayama, Japan

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Hiroyuki Ariyasu First Department of Internal Medicine, Wakayama Medical University, Wakayama City, Wakayama, Japan

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Chiaki Kurimoto First Department of Internal Medicine, Wakayama Medical University, Wakayama City, Wakayama, Japan

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Shinsuke Uraki First Department of Internal Medicine, Wakayama Medical University, Wakayama City, Wakayama, Japan

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Shuhei Morita First Department of Internal Medicine, Wakayama Medical University, Wakayama City, Wakayama, Japan

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Yasushi Furukawa First Department of Internal Medicine, Wakayama Medical University, Wakayama City, Wakayama, Japan

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Hiroshi Iwakura First Department of Internal Medicine, Wakayama Medical University, Wakayama City, Wakayama, Japan

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Takashi Akamizu First Department of Internal Medicine, Wakayama Medical University, Wakayama City, Wakayama, Japan

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Summary

Thyroid storm (TS) is a life-threatening condition that may suffer thyrotoxic patients. Therapeutic plasma exchange (TPE) is a rescue approach for TS with acute hepatic failure, but it should be initiated with careful considerations. We present a 55-year-old male patient with untreated Graves’ disease who developed TS. Severe hyperthyroidism and refractory atrial fibrillation with congestive heart failure aggregated to multiple organ failure. The patient was recovered by intensive multimodal therapy, but we had difficulty in introducing TPE treatment considering the risk of exacerbation of congestive heart failure due to plasma volume overload. In addition, serum total bilirubin level was not elevated in the early phase to the level of indication for TPE. The clinical course of this patient instructed delayed elevation of bilirubin until the level of indication for TPE in some patients and also demonstrated the risk of exacerbation of congestive heart failure by TPE.

Learning points:

  • Our patient with thyroid storm could be diagnosed and treated promptly using Japan Thyroid Association guidelines for thyroid storm.

  • Delayed elevation of serum bilirubin levels could make the decision of introducing therapeutic plasma exchange difficult in cases of thyroid storm with acute hepatic failure.

  • The risk of worsening congestive heart failure should be considered carefully when performing therapeutic plasma exchange.

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Tzy Harn Chua Department of Endocrinology, Changi General Hospital, Singapore

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Wann Jia Loh Department of Endocrinology, Changi General Hospital, Singapore

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Summary

Severe hyponatremia and osmotic demyelination syndrome (ODS) are opposite ends of a spectrum of emergency disorders related to sodium concentrations. Management of severe hyponatremia is challenging because of the difficulty in balancing the risk of overcorrection leading to ODS as well as under-correction causing cerebral oedema, particularly in a patient with chronic hypocortisolism and hypothyroidism. We report a case of a patient with Noonan syndrome and untreated anterior hypopituitarism who presented with symptomatic hyponatremia and developed transient ODS.

Learning points:

  • Patients with severe anterior hypopituitarism with severe hyponatremia are susceptible to the rapid rise of sodium level with a small amount of fluid and hydrocortisone.

  • These patients with chronic anterior hypopituitarism are at high risk of developing ODS and therefore, care should be taken to avoid a rise of more than 4–6 mmol/L per day.

  • Early recognition and rescue desmopressin and i.v. dextrose 5% fluids to reduce serum sodium concentration may be helpful in treating acute ODS.

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Karen Decaestecker Department of Diabetology-Endocrinology, AZ Nikolaas, Sint-Niklaas, Belgium

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Veerle Wijtvliet Department of Diabetology-Endocrinology, AZ Nikolaas, Sint-Niklaas, Belgium

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Peter Coremans Department of Diabetology-Endocrinology, AZ Nikolaas, Sint-Niklaas, Belgium

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Nike Van Doninck Department of Diabetology-Endocrinology, AZ Nikolaas, Sint-Niklaas, Belgium

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Summary

ACTH-dependent hypercortisolism is caused by an ectopic ACTH syndrome (EAS) in 20% of cases. We report a rare cause of EAS in a 41-year-old woman, presenting with clinical features of Cushing’s syndrome which developed over several months. Biochemical tests revealed hypokalemic metabolic alkalosis and high morning cortisol and ACTH levels. Further testing, including 24-hour urine analysis, late-night saliva and low-dose dexamethasone suppression test, confirmed hypercortisolism. An MRI of the pituitary gland was normal. Inferior petrosal sinus sampling (IPSS) revealed inconsistent results, with a raised basal gradient but no rise after CRH stimulation. Additional PET-CT showed intense metabolic activity in the left nasal vault. Biopsy of this lesion revealed an unsuspected cause of Cushing’s syndrome: an olfactory neuroblastoma (ONB) with positive immunostaining for ACTH. Our patient underwent transnasal resection of the tumour mass, followed by adjuvant radiotherapy. Normalisation of cortisol and ACTH levels was seen immediately after surgery. Hydrocortisone substitution was started to prevent withdrawal symptoms. As the hypothalamic–pituitary–axis slowly recovered, daily hydrocortisone doses were tapered and stopped 4 months after surgery. Clinical Cushing’s stigmata improved gradually.

Learning points:

  • Ectopic ACTH syndrome can originate from tumours outside the thoracoabdominal region, like the sinonasal cavity.

  • The diagnostic accuracy of IPSS is not 100%: both false positives and false negatives may occur and might be due to a sinonasal tumour with ectopic ACTH secretion.

  • Olfactory neuroblastoma (syn. esthesioneuroblastoma), named because of its sensory (olfactory) and neuroectodermal origin in the upper nasal cavity, is a rare malignant neoplasm. It should not be confused with neuroblastoma, a tumour of the sympathetic nervous system typically occurring in children.

  • If one criticises MRI of the pituitary gland because of ACTH-dependent hypercortisolism, one should take a close look at the sinonasal field as well.

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Ming Li Yee Department of Endocrinology, Eastern Health, Victoria, Australia
Eastern Health Clinical School, Monash University, Victoria, Australia

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Rosemary Wong Department of Endocrinology, Eastern Health, Victoria, Australia

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Mineesh Datta Eastern Health Clinical School, Monash University, Victoria, Australia
Medical Imaging, Eastern Health, Box Hill, Victoria, Australia

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Timothy Nicholas Fazio Metabolic Diseases Unit, Royal Melbourne Hospital, Victoria, Australia
Department of Medicine and Radiology, University of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

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Mina Mohammad Ebrahim Department of Endocrinology, Eastern Health, Victoria, Australia

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Elissa Claire Mcnamara Department of Endocrinology, Eastern Health, Victoria, Australia

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Gerard De Jong Metabolic Diseases Unit, Royal Melbourne Hospital, Victoria, Australia

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Christopher Gilfillan Department of Endocrinology, Eastern Health, Victoria, Australia
Eastern Health Clinical School, Monash University, Victoria, Australia
Department of Medicine, Eastern Health, Box Hill, Victoria, Australia

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Summary

Mitochondrial diseases are rare, heterogeneous conditions affecting organs dependent on high aerobic metabolism. Presenting symptoms and signs vary depending on the mutation and mutant protein load. Diabetes mellitus is the most common endocrinopathy, and recognition of these patients is important due to its impact on management and screening of family members. In particular, glycemic management differs in these patients: the use of metformin is avoided because of the risk of lactic acidosis. We describe a patient who presented with gradual weight loss and an acute presentation of hyperglycemia complicated by the superior mesenteric artery syndrome. His maternal history of diabetes and deafness and a personal history of hearing impairment led to the diagnosis of a mitochondrial disorder.

Learning points:

  • The constellation of diabetes, multi-organ involvement and maternal inheritance should prompt consideration of a mitochondrial disorder.

  • Mitochondrial encephalomyopathy, lactic acidosis, stroke-like episodes (MELAS) and maternally inherited diabetes and deafness (MIDD) are the most common mitochondrial diabetes disorders caused by a mutation in m.3243A>G in 80% of cases.

  • Metformin should be avoided due to the risk of lactic acidosis.

  • There is more rapid progression to insulin therapy and higher prevalence of diabetic complications compared to type 2 diabetes.

  • Diagnosis of a mitochondrial disorder leads to family screening, education and surveillance for future complications.

  • Superior mesenteric artery syndrome, an uncommon but important cause of intestinal pseudo-obstruction in cases of significant weight loss, has been reported in MELAS patients.

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Sebastian Hörber Division of Endocrinology, Diabetology, Vascular Medicine, Nephrology and Clinical Chemistry, Department of Internal Medicine, University of Tübingen, Tübingen, Germany
Institute for Diabetes Research and Metabolic Diseases of the Helmholtz Center Munich at the University of Tübingen, Tübingen, Germany
German Center for Diabetes Research (DZD), München-Neuherberg, Germany

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Sarah Hudak Division of Endocrinology, Diabetology, Vascular Medicine, Nephrology and Clinical Chemistry, Department of Internal Medicine, University of Tübingen, Tübingen, Germany

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Martin Kächele Department of Internal Medicine, Medical Intensive Care Unit, University of Tübingen, Tübingen, Germany

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Dietrich Overkamp Division of Endocrinology, Diabetology, Vascular Medicine, Nephrology and Clinical Chemistry, Department of Internal Medicine, University of Tübingen, Tübingen, Germany

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Andreas Fritsche Division of Endocrinology, Diabetology, Vascular Medicine, Nephrology and Clinical Chemistry, Department of Internal Medicine, University of Tübingen, Tübingen, Germany
Institute for Diabetes Research and Metabolic Diseases of the Helmholtz Center Munich at the University of Tübingen, Tübingen, Germany
German Center for Diabetes Research (DZD), München-Neuherberg, Germany

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Hans-Ulrich Häring Division of Endocrinology, Diabetology, Vascular Medicine, Nephrology and Clinical Chemistry, Department of Internal Medicine, University of Tübingen, Tübingen, Germany
Institute for Diabetes Research and Metabolic Diseases of the Helmholtz Center Munich at the University of Tübingen, Tübingen, Germany
German Center for Diabetes Research (DZD), München-Neuherberg, Germany

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Andreas Peter Division of Endocrinology, Diabetology, Vascular Medicine, Nephrology and Clinical Chemistry, Department of Internal Medicine, University of Tübingen, Tübingen, Germany
Institute for Diabetes Research and Metabolic Diseases of the Helmholtz Center Munich at the University of Tübingen, Tübingen, Germany
German Center for Diabetes Research (DZD), München-Neuherberg, Germany

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Martin Heni Division of Endocrinology, Diabetology, Vascular Medicine, Nephrology and Clinical Chemistry, Department of Internal Medicine, University of Tübingen, Tübingen, Germany
Institute for Diabetes Research and Metabolic Diseases of the Helmholtz Center Munich at the University of Tübingen, Tübingen, Germany
German Center for Diabetes Research (DZD), München-Neuherberg, Germany

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Summary

Diabetic ketoacidosis is a life-threatening complication of diabetes mellitus. It usually occurs in patients with type 1 diabetes where it is typically associated with only moderately increased blood glucose. Here, we report the case of a 52-year-old female patient who was admitted to the emergency unit with severely altered mental status but stable vital signs. Laboratory results on admission revealed very high blood glucose (1687 mg/dL/93.6 mmol/L) and severe acidosis (pH <7) with proof of ketone bodies in serum and urine. Past history revealed a paranoid schizophrenia diagnosed 10 years ago and for which the patient was treated with risperidone for many years. Acute treatment with intravenous fluids, intravenous insulin infusion and sodium bicarbonate improved the symptoms. Further laboratory investigations confirmed diagnosis of autoimmune type 1 diabetes. After normalization of blood glucose levels, the patient could soon be discharged with a subcutaneous insulin therapy.

Learning points:

  • Diabetic ketoacidosis as first manifestation of type 1 diabetes can occur with markedly elevated blood glucose concentrations in elder patients.

  • Atypical antipsychotics are associated with hyperglycemia and an increased risk of new-onset diabetes.

  • First report of risperidone-associated diabetic ketoacidosis in new-onset type 1 diabetes.

  • Patients treated with atypical antipsychotics require special care and regular laboratory examinations to detect hyperglycemia and diabetic ketoacidosis.

  • In cases when the diagnosis is in doubt, blood gas analysis as well as determination of C-peptide and islet autoantibodies can help to establish the definite diabetes type.

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Philip D Oddie Medical School, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK

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Benjamin B Albert Liggins Institute, University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand

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Paul L Hofman Liggins Institute, University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand
Starship Children’s Health, Auckland District Health Board, Auckland, New Zealand

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Craig Jefferies Starship Children’s Health, Auckland District Health Board, Auckland, New Zealand
Starship Children’s Health, Auckland District Health Board, Auckland, New Zealand

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Stephen Laughton Starship Children’s Health, Auckland District Health Board, Auckland, New Zealand

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Philippa J Carter Starship Children’s Health, Auckland District Health Board, Auckland, New Zealand

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Summary

Adrenocortical carcinoma (ACC) during childhood is a rare malignant tumor that frequently results in glucocorticoid and/or androgen excess. When there are signs of microscopic or macroscopic residual disease, adjuvant therapy is recommended with mitotane, an adrenolytic and cytotoxic drug. In addition to the anticipated side effect of adrenal insufficiency, mitotane is known to cause gynecomastia and hypothyroidism in adults. It has never been reported to cause precocious puberty. A 4-year-old girl presented with a 6-week history of virilization and elevated androgen levels and 1-year advancement in bone age. Imaging revealed a right adrenal mass, which was subsequently surgically excised. Histology revealed ACC with multiple unfavorable features, including high mitotic index, capsular invasion and atypical mitoses. Adjuvant chemotherapy was started with mitotane, cisplatin, etoposide and doxorubicin. She experienced severe gastrointestinal side effects and symptomatic adrenal insufficiency, which occurred despite physiological-dose corticosteroid replacement. She also developed hypothyroidism that responded to treatment with levothyroxine and peripheral precocious puberty (PPP) with progressive breast development and rapidly advancing bone age. Five months after discontinuing mitotane, her adrenal insufficiency persisted and she developed secondary central precocious puberty (CPP). This case demonstrates the diverse endocrine complications associated with mitotane therapy, which contrast with the presentation of ACC itself. It also provides the first evidence that the known estrogenic effect of mitotane can manifest as PPP.

Learning points:

  • Adrenocortical carcinoma is an important differential diagnosis for virilization in young children

  • Mitotane is a chemotherapeutic agent that is used to treat adrenocortical carcinoma and causes adrenal necrosis

  • Mitotane is an endocrine disruptor. In addition to the intended effect of adrenal insufficiency, it can cause hypothyroidism, with gynecomastia also reported in adults.

  • Patients taking mitotane require very high doses of hydrocortisone replacement therapy because mitotane interferes with steroid metabolism. This effect persists after mitotane therapy is completed

  • In our case, mitotane caused peripheral precocious puberty, possibly through its estrogenic effect.

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Snezana Burmazovic Department of Intensive Care Medicine, Lucerne Cantonal Hospital, Lucerne, Switzerland

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Christoph Henzen Department of Internal Medicine and Endocrinology, Lucerne Cantonal Hospital, Lucerne, Switzerland

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Lukas Brander Department of Intensive Care Medicine, Lucerne Cantonal Hospital, Lucerne, Switzerland

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Luca Cioccari Department of Intensive Care Medicine, Lucerne Cantonal Hospital, Lucerne, Switzerland
Australian and New Zealand Intensive Care Research Centre, School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, Monash University, Prahran, Australia

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Summary

The combination of hyperosmolar hyperglycaemic state and central diabetes insipidus is unusual and poses unique diagnostic and therapeutic challenges for clinicians. In a patient with diabetes mellitus presenting with polyuria and polydipsia, poor glycaemic control is usually the first aetiology that is considered, and achieving glycaemic control remains the first course of action. However, severe hypernatraemia, hyperglycaemia and discordance between urine-specific gravity and urine osmolality suggest concurrent symptomatic diabetes insipidus. We report a rare case of concurrent manifestation of hyperosmolar hyperglycaemic state and central diabetes insipidus in a patient with a history of craniopharyngioma.

Learning points:

  • In patients with diabetes mellitus presenting with polyuria and polydipsia, poor glycaemic control is usually the first aetiology to be considered.

  • However, a history of craniopharyngioma, severe hypernatraemia, hyperglycaemia and discordance between urine-specific gravity and osmolality provide evidence of concurrent diabetes insipidus.

  • Therefore, if a patient with diabetes mellitus presents with severe hypernatraemia, hyperglycaemia, a low or low normal urinary-specific gravity and worsening polyuria despite correction of hyperglycaemia, concurrent diabetes insipidus should be sought.

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Ali A Zaied Divisions of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Mayo Clinic, Jacksonville, Florida, USA

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Halis K Akturk Divisions of Endocrinology, Mayo Clinic, Jacksonville, Florida, USA

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Richard W Joseph Divisions of Hematology and Oncology, Mayo Clinic, Jacksonville, Florida, USA

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Augustine S Lee Divisions of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Mayo Clinic, Jacksonville, Florida, USA

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Summary

Nivolumab, a monoclonal antibody against programmed cell death-1 receptor, is increasingly used in advanced cancers. While nivolumab use enhances cancer therapy, it is associated with increased immune-related adverse events. We describe an elderly man who presented in ketoacidosis after receiving nivolumab for metastatic renal cell carcinoma. On presentation, he was hyperpneic and laboratory analyses showed hyperglycemia and anion-gapped metabolic acidosis consistent with diabetic ketoacidosis. No other precipitating factors, besides nivolumab, were identified. Pre-nivolumab blood glucose levels were normal. The patient responded to treatment with intravenous fluids, insulin and electrolyte replacement. He was diagnosed with insulin-dependent autoimmune diabetes mellitus secondary to nivolumab. Although nivolumab was stopped, he continued to require multiple insulin injection therapy till his last follow-up 7 months after presentation. Clinicians need to be alerted to the development of diabetes mellitus and diabetic ketoacidosis in patients receiving nivolumab.

Learning points:

  • Diabetic ketoacidosis should be considered in the differential of patients presenting with metabolic acidosis following treatment with antibodies to programmed cell death-1 receptor (anti-PD-1).

  • Autoimmune islet cell damage is the presumed mechanism for how insulin requiring diabetes mellitus can develop de novo following administration of anti-PD-1.

  • Because anti-PD-1 works by the activation of T-cells and reduction of ‘self-tolerance’, other autoimmune disorders are likely to be increasingly recognized with increased use of these agents.

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Joseph Cerasuolo Department of Neurology and Department of Internal Medicine, St. Vincent Hospital, Worcester, Massachusetts, USA

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Anthony Izzo Department of Neurology and Department of Internal Medicine, St. Vincent Hospital, Worcester, Massachusetts, USA

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Summary

Acute hyperglycemia has been shown to cause cognitive impairments in animal models. There is growing appreciation of the numerous effects of hyperglycemia on neuronal function as well as blood–brain barrier function. In humans, hypoglycemia is well known to cause cognitive deficits acutely, but hyperglycemia has been less well studied. We present a case of selective neurocognitive deficits in the setting of acute hyperglycemia. A 60-year-old man was admitted to the hospital for an episode of acute hyperglycemia in the setting of newly diagnosed diabetes mellitus precipitated by steroid use. He was managed with insulin therapy and discharged home, and later, presented with complaints of memory impairment. Deficits included impairment in his declarative and working memory, to the point of significant impairment in his overall functioning. The patient had no structural lesions on MRI imaging of the brain or other systemic illnesses to explain his specific deficits. We suggest that his acute hyperglycemia may have caused neurological injury, and may be responsible for our patient’s memory complaints.

Learning points:

  • Acute hyperglycemia has been associated with poor outcomes in several different central nervous system injuries including cerebrovascular accident and hypoxic injury.

  • Hyperglycemia is responsible for accumulation of reactive oxygen species in the brain, resulting in advanced glycosylated end products and a proinflammatory response that may lead to cellular injury.

  • Further research is needed to define the impact of both acute and chronic hyperglycemia on cognitive impairment and memory.

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Prashanth Rawla Department of Internal Medicine, Memorial Hospital of Martinsville and Henry County, Martinsville, Virginia, USA

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Anantha R Vellipuram Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, El Paso, Texas, USA

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Sathyajit S Bandaru Senior Research Associate, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA

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Jeffrey Pradeep Raj Department of Pharmacology, St John’s Medical College, Bangalore, India

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Summary

Euglycemic diabetic ketoacidosis (EDKA) is a clinical triad comprising increased anion gap metabolic acidosis, ketonemia or ketonuria and normal blood glucose levels <200 mg/dL. This condition is a diagnostic challenge as euglycemia masquerades the underlying diabetic ketoacidosis. Thus, a high clinical suspicion is warranted, and other diagnosis ruled out. Here, we present two patients on regular insulin treatment who were admitted with a diagnosis of EDKA. The first patient had insulin pump failure and the second patient had urinary tract infection and nausea, thereby resulting in starvation. Both of them were aggressively treated with intravenous fluids and insulin drip as per the protocol for the blood glucose levels till the anion gap normalized, and the metabolic acidosis reversed. This case series summarizes, in brief, the etiology, pathophysiology and treatment of EDKA.

Learning points:

  • Euglycemic diabetic ketoacidosis is rare.

  • Consider ketosis in patients with DKA even if their serum glucose levels are normal.

  • High clinical suspicion is required to diagnose EDKA as normal blood sugar levels masquerade the underlying DKA and cause a diagnostic and therapeutic dilemma.

  • Blood pH and blood or urine ketones should be checked in ill patients with diabetes regardless of blood glucose levels.

Open access