Papers And Originals

Rapid Blood Ketone Body Estimation in the Diagnosis of Diabetic Ketoacidosis

Br Med J 1972; 2 doi: (Published 03 June 1972) Cite this as: Br Med J 1972;2:565
  1. K. G. M. M. Alberti,
  2. T. D. R. Hockaday


    Different methods of assessing ketone body concentrations in blood and plasma of ketoacidotic patients have been compared. We confirmed that Ketostix reacts strongly with acetoacetate, giving a useful range of 0 to 10 mM for plasma acetoacetate, that acetone reacts weakly, and that 3-hydroxybutyrate does not react at all. Plasma Ketostix readings correlated only moderately well with enzymatically determined whole-blood acetoacetate. All samples giving a + + + reaction contained more than 1·6 mM acetoacetate while only 4 out of 21 samples showing 0 contained more than 0·4 mM. Comparison of Ketostix readings with total blood ketone body content showed poor correlation. One reason for this was the large variation in the ratio of 3-hydroxybutyrate to acetoacetate in ketoacidosis; another was that often Ketostix had been stored in such a way that they had become damp, which impairs their reliability. If the Ketostix reading and estimation of the blood pH show a discrepancy we suggest that an enzymatic assay should be used to determine the ketone bodies and lactate.