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Preparation of a diabetic for emergency surgery

Last reviewed dd mmm yyyy. Last edited dd mmm yyyy

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All diabetic patients being admitted for emergency surgery require intravenous control of their blood glucose irrespective of the severity of their diabetes.

If the patient is in a diabetic ketoacidotic crisis, effective control of the metabolic disorder will be advantageous in two ways:

  • vomiting and abdominal pain will be relieved; these may have been the original indications for surgery
  • the surgery will be safer

A few hours spent correcting ketoacidosis is essential unless the patient is in extremis: usually, there are electrolytes and acid-base abnormalities.


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