SignSymptom infobox

Caption = Ketonuria using Bayer Ketostix
DiseasesDB = 29485
ICD10 = ICD10|R|82|4|r|80
ICD9 = ICD9|791.6
MedlinePlus =
eMedicineSubj =
eMedicineTopic =
MeshID =

Ketonuria is a medical condition in which ketone bodies are present in the urine.

It is seen in conditions in which the body produces excess ketones as an alternative source of energy. It is seen during starvation or more commonly in type I diabetes mellitus. Production of ketone bodies is a normal response to a shortage of glucose, meant to provide an alternate source of fuel from fatty acids. For instance, after 24 hours of fasting the blood will have increased levels of ketone bodies (called ketonemia or ketosis), but all of it will be used by the muscles and very little will remain to be excreted in urine.


Ketones are metabolic end-products of fatty acid metabolism. In healthy individuals, ketones are formed in the liver and are completely metabolized so that only negligible amounts appear in the urine. However, when carbohydrates are unavailable or unable to be used as an energy source, fat becomes the predominant body fuel instead of carbohydrates and excessive amounts of ketones are formed as a metabolic byproduct. Higher levels of ketones in the urine indicate that the body is using fat as the major source of energy.

Ketone bodies that commonly appear in the urine when fats are burned for energy are acetoacetate and beta-hydroxybutyric acid. The gas acetone is also produced, but is exhaled. Normally, the urine should not contain a noticeable concentration of ketones to give a positive reading. As with tests for glucose, acetone can be tested by a dipstick or by a tablet. The results are reported as small, moderate, or large amounts of acetone. A small amount of acetone is a value under 20mg/dl; a moderate amount is a value of 30-40mg/dl, and a finding of 80mg/dl or greater is reported as a large amount.


Screening for ketonuria is done frequently for acutely ill patients, presurgical patients, and pregnant women. Any diabetic patient who has elevated levels of blood and urine glucose should be tested for urinary ketones. In addition, when diabetic treatment is being switched from insulin to oral hypoglycemic agents, the patient's urine should be monitored for ketonuria. The development of ketonuria within 24 hours after insulin withdrawal usually indicates a poor response to the oral hypoglycemic agents. Diabetic patients who use oral hypoglycemic agents should have their urine tested regularly for glucose and ketones because oral hypoglycemic agents, unlike insulin, do not control diabetes when an acute infection or other illness develops.

In conditions associated with acidosis, urinary ketones are tested to assess the severity of acidosis and to monitor treatment response. Urine ketones appear before there is any significant increase in blood ketones; therefore, urine ketone measurement is especially helpful in emergency situations. During pregnancy, early detection of ketonuria is essential because ketoacidosis is a factor associated with intrauterine death.

Causes of ketosis and ketonuria

* Metabolic abnormalities such as diabetes, renal glycosuria, or glycogen storage disease
* Dietary conditions such as starvation, fasting, high protein, or low carbohydrate diets, prolonged vomiting, and anorexia
* Conditions in which metabolism is increased, such as hyperthyroidism, fever, pregnancy or lactation

In nondiabetic persons, ketonuria may occur during acute illness or severe stress. Approximately 15% of hospitalized patients may have ketonuria, even though they do not have diabetes. In a diabetic patient, ketone bodies in the urine suggest that the patient is not adequately controlled and that adjustments of medication, diet, or both should be made promptly. In the nondiabetic patient, ketonuria reflects a reduced carbohydrate metabolism and excessive fat metabolism.

Test equipment

Ketostix is Bayer's brand name for test strips to measure the level of ketones in the urine. Other brands of ketone test strips are Uriscan and Atkins. A strip consists of a thin piece of plastic film slightly larger than a matchstick, with a reagent pad on one end that is either dipped into a urine sample or passed through the stream while the user is voiding. The pad is allowed to react for a short time, then its resulting color is compared to a graded shade chart indicating a detection range from negative presence of ketones up to a significant quantity.

External links

* [ National Institute of Health (NIH) webpage on Ketonuria]

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • ketonuria — [kēt΄ōnoor′ē ə, kēt΄ōnyoor′ē ə] n. [ KETON(E) + URIA] an excess of ketone bodies in the urine …   English World dictionary

  • ketonuria — /kee toh noor ee euh, nyoor /, n. Med. the presence of ketone bodies in the urine. [1910 15; KETONE + URIA] * * * …   Universalium

  • ketonuria — noun A medical condition in which ketone bodies are present in the urine …   Wiktionary

  • ketonuria — Enhanced urinary excretion of ketone bodies. branched chain k. SYN: maple syrup urine disease. * * * ke·ton·uria .kēt ə n(y)u̇r ē ə n the presence of excess ketone bodies in the urine in conditions (as diabetes mellitus and starvation acidosis)… …   Medical dictionary

  • ketonuria — n. abnormally large amount of ketone bodies in the urine (Medicine) …   English contemporary dictionary

  • ketonuria — [ˌki:tə(ʊ) njʊərɪə] noun Medicine the excretion of abnormally large amounts of ketone bodies in the urine, characteristic of diabetes mellitus, starvation, or other medical conditions …   English new terms dictionary

  • ketonuria — ke·ton·uria …   English syllables

  • ketonuria — acetonuria; n. the presence in the urine of ketone (acetone) bodies. This may occur in diabetes mellitus, starvation, or after persistent vomiting and results from the partial oxidation of fats. Ketone bodies may be detected by adding a few drops …   The new mediacal dictionary

  • ketonuria — ke•to•nu•ri•a [[t]ˌki toʊˈnʊər i ə, ˈnyʊər [/t]] n. med the presence of ketone bodies in the urine • Etymology: 1910–15 …   From formal English to slang

  • ketonuria — /kitəˈnjuriə/ (say keetuh nyoohreeuh) noun the excretion of ketones in the urine …  

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