Lactation Ketoacidosis: A Systematic Review of Case Reports

Abdullah M Al Alawi, Asma Al Flaiti, Henrik Falhammar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


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 number1455
JournalMedicina (Lithuania)
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 17 2020


  • Acidosis/drug therapy
  • Adult
  • Breast Feeding/adverse effects
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypoglycemic Agents/therapeutic use
  • Insulin/therapeutic use
  • Ketosis/drug therapy
  • Lactation/drug effects
  • Mothers


Dive into the research topics of 'Lactation Ketoacidosis: A Systematic Review of Case Reports'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this