Table of Contents Author Guidelines Submit a Manuscript
Case Reports in Nephrology
Volume 2017 (2017), Article ID 4521319, 6 pages
Case Report

Multiple Electrolyte and Metabolic Emergencies in a Single Patient

1Olive View-UCLA Medical Center, 14445 Olive View Drive, 2B-182, Sylmar, CA 91342, USA
2Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, 200 Medical Plaza, Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA

Correspondence should be addressed to Phuong-Chi Pham

Received 12 December 2016; Accepted 12 January 2017; Published 31 January 2017

Academic Editor: Yoshihide Fujigaki

Copyright © 2017 Caprice Cadacio et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


While some electrolyte disturbances are immediately life-threatening and must be emergently treated, others may be delayed without immediate adverse consequences. We discuss a patient with alcoholism and diabetes mellitus type 2 who presented with volume depletion and multiple life-threatening electrolyte and metabolic derangements including severe hyponatremia (serum sodium concentration [] 107 mEq/L), hypophosphatemia (“undetectable,” <1.0 mg/dL), and hypokalemia (2.2 mEq/L), moderate diabetic ketoacidosis ([DKA], pH 7.21, serum anion gap [] 37) and hypocalcemia (ionized calcium 4.0 mg/dL), mild hypomagnesemia (1.6 mg/dL), and electrocardiogram with prolonged QTc. Following two liters of normal saline and associated increase in by 4 mEq/L and serum osmolality by 2.4 mosm/Kg, renal service was consulted. We were challenged with minimizing the correction of (or effective serum osmolality) to avoid the osmotic demyelinating syndrome while replacing volume, potassium, phosphorus, calcium, and magnesium and concurrently treating DKA. Our management plan was further complicated by an episode of significant aquaresis. A stepwise approach was strategized to prioritize and correct all disturbances with considerations that the treatment of one condition could affect or directly worsen another. The current case demonstrates that a thorough understanding of electrolyte physiology is required in managing complex electrolyte disturbances to avoid disastrous outcomes.