Lactation ketoacidosis: A systematic review of case reports

Abdullah M.Al Alawi, Asma Al Flaiti, Henrik Falhammar

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    Background and Objective: Lactation ketoacidosis is a rare cause of high anion gap metabolic acidosis affecting breastfeeding mothers. We aim to review and analyze all cases of lactation ketoacidosis reported. 

    Materials and Methods: A systematic search of PubMed/MEDLINE and Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature (CINAHL), identifying relevant case reports published from 1 January 1970 to 31 December 2019. We extracted the following data: the first author, country, year of publication, age of the mother, age of the child, weight/body mass index (BMI) of the mother, precipitating factors, presenting symptoms, biochemical results, treatment, breastfeeding, and time from presentation to the resolution of ketoacidosis. 

    Results: Sixteen case reports and 1 case series reporting 18 cases of lactation ketoacidosis were found. Presenting symptoms were nausea (72%, 13/18), vomiting (67%, 12/18), malaise (56%, 10/18), abdominal pain (44%, 8/18), dyspnea (33%, 6/18), headache (22%, 4/18), and palpitation (11%, 2/18). Dieting and physical exercise to lose weight were reported in 76% (14/18). The treatments included IV dextrose, sodium bicarbonate, insulin, rehydration, monitoring and replacement of electrolytes, and resumption of a balanced diet. The prognoses were good, with no mortalities. 

    Conclusions: lactation ketoacidosis should be suspected in unwell breastfeeding women with high anion gap metabolic acidosis, after excluding other causes.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number299
    Pages (from-to)1-11
    Number of pages11
    JournalMedicina (Lithuania)
    Issue number6
    Publication statusPublished - 17 Jun 2020


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