Bicarbonate therapy in severe diabetic ketoacidosis

Ann Intern Med. 1986 Dec;105(6):836-40. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-105-6-836.


Twenty-one adult patients with severe diabetic ketoacidosis entered a randomized prospective protocol in which variable doses of sodium bicarbonate, based on initial arterial pH (6.9 to 7.14), were administered to 10 patients (treatment group) and were withheld from 11 patients (control group). During treatment, there were no significant differences in the rate of decline of glucose or ketone levels or in the rate of increase in pH or bicarbonate levels in the blood or cerebrospinal fluid in either group. Similarly, there were no significant differences in the time required for the plasma glucose level to reach 250 mg/dL, blood pH to reach 7.3, or bicarbonate level to reach 15 meq/L. We conclude that in severe diabetic ketoacidosis (arterial pH 6.9 to 7.14), the administration of bicarbonate does not affect recovery outcome variables as compared with those in a control group.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Bicarbonates / metabolism
  • Bicarbonates / therapeutic use*
  • Diabetic Ketoacidosis / drug therapy*
  • Diabetic Ketoacidosis / metabolism
  • Glucose / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Infusions, Intravenous
  • Ketone Bodies / metabolism
  • Lactates / metabolism
  • Prospective Studies
  • Random Allocation


  • Bicarbonates
  • Ketone Bodies
  • Lactates
  • Glucose