Empagliflozin-associated postoperative mixed metabolic acidosis. Case report and review of pathogenesis

BMC Endocr Disord. 2023 Apr 14;23(1):81. doi: 10.1186/s12902-023-01339-w.


Background: Euglycemic diabetic ketoacidosis associated with SGLT2 inhibitors is a rare, relatively new and potentially fatal clinical entity, characterized by metabolic acidosis with normal or only moderately elevated glycemia. The mechanisms are not fully understood but involve increased ketogenesis and complex renal metabolic dysfunction, resulting in both ketoacidosis and hyperchloremic acidosis. We report a rare case of fatal empagliflozin-associated acidosis with profound hyperchloremia and review its pathogenesis.

Case presentation: A patient with type 2 diabetes mellitus treated with empagliflozin underwent an elective hip replacement surgery. Since day 4 after surgery, he felt generally unwell, leading to cardiac arrest on the day 5. Empagliflozin-associated euglycemic diabetic ketoacidosis with severe hyperchloremic acidosis was identified as the cause of the cardiac arrest.

Conclusions: This unique case documents the possibility of severe SGLT2 inhibitor-associated mixed metabolic acidosis with a predominant hyperchloremic component. Awareness of this possibility and a high index of suspicion are crucial for correct and early diagnosis.

Keywords: Case report; Empagliflozin; Euglycemic ketoacidosis; Hyperchloremic acidosis; SGLT2 inhibitor.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Acidosis* / chemically induced
  • Acidosis* / complications
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2* / complications
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2* / drug therapy
  • Diabetic Ketoacidosis* / diagnosis
  • Heart Arrest*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Sodium-Glucose Transporter 2 Inhibitors* / adverse effects


  • empagliflozin
  • Sodium-Glucose Transporter 2 Inhibitors