Hyperglycemic Crises in Adult Patients With Diabetes

Abbas E. Kitabchi, PHD, MD; Guillermo E. Umpierrez, MD; John M. Miles, MD; Joseph N. Fisher, MD

Disclosures

Diabetes Care. 2009;32(7):1335-1343. 

In This Article

Introduction

Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) and the hyperosmolar hyperglycemic state (HHS) are the two most serious acute metabolic complications of diabetes. DKA is responsible for more than 500,000 hospital days per year[1,2] at an estimated annual direct medical expense and indirect cost of 2.4 billion USD[2,3]. Table 1 outlines the diagnostic criteria for DKA and HHS. The triad of uncontrolled hyperglycemia, metabolic acidosis, and increased total body ketone concentration characterizes DKA. HHS is characterized by severe hyperglycemia, hyperosmolality, and dehydration in the absence of significant ketoacidosis. These metabolic derangements result from the combination of absolute or relative insulin deficiency and an increase in counterregulatory hormones (glucagon, catecholamines, cortisol, and growth hormone). Most patients with DKA have autoimmune type 1 diabetes; however, patients with type 2 diabetes are also at risk during the catabolic stress of acute illness such as trauma, surgery, or infections. This consensus statement will outline precipitating factors and recommendations for the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of DKA and HHS in adult subjects. It is based on a previous technical review[4] and more recently published peer-reviewed articles since 2001, which should be consulted for further information.

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