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Am Fam Physician. 2005 May 1;71(9):1723-30.

Hyperosmolar hyperglycemic state.

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  • 1University of Illinois College of Medicine, Peoria, Illinois 61602, USA. gstoner@uic.edu

Abstract

Hyperosmolar hyperglycemic state is a life-threatening emergency manifested by marked elevation of blood glucose, hyperosmolarity, and little or no ketosis. With the dramatic increase in the prevalence of type 2 diabetes and the aging population, this condition may be encountered more frequently by family physicians in the future. Although the precipitating causes are numerous, underlying infections are the most common. Other causes include certain medications, non-compliance, undiagnosed diabetes, substance abuse, and coexisting disease. Physical findings of hyperosmolar hyperglycemic state include those associated with profound dehydration and various neurologic symptoms such as coma. The first step of treatment involves careful monitoring of the patient and laboratory values. Vigorous correction of dehydration with the use of normal saline is critical, requiring an average of 9 L in 48 hours. After urine output has been established, potassium replacement should begin. Once fluid replacement has been initiated, insulin should be given as an initial bolus of 0.15 U per kg intravenously, followed by a drip of 0.1 U per kg per hour until the blood glucose level falls to between 250 and 300 mg per dL. Identification and treatment of the underlying and precipitating causes are necessary. It is important to monitor the patient for complications such as vascular occlusions (e.g., mesenteric artery occlusion, myocardial infarction, low-flow syndrome, and disseminated intravascular coagulopathy) and rhabdomyolysis. Finally, physicians should focus on preventing future episodes using patient education and instruction in self-monitoring.

PMID:
15887451
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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