Diagnosis and Management of the Critically Ill Adult Patient with Hyperglycemic Hyperosmolar State

Brit Long, George C. Willis, Skyler Lentz, Alex Koyfman, Michael Gottlieb

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Background: Hyperglycemic hyperosmolar state is a life-threatening complication of diabetes mellitus. Therefore, it is important for emergency physicians to be aware of this unique diagnosis and treatment considerations. Objective: This manuscript reviews the emergency department evaluation and management of the adult patient with hyperglycemic hyperosmolar state. Discussion: Hyperglycemic hyperosmolar state is diagnosed by an elevated glucose, elevated serum osmolality, minimal or absent ketones, and a neurologic abnormality, most commonly altered mental status. Treatment involves fluid resuscitation and correction of electrolyte abnormalities. It is important to monitor these patients closely to avoid overcorrection of osmolality, sodium, and other electrolytes. These patients are critically ill and generally require admission to an intensive care unit. Conclusions: Hyperglycemic hyperosmolar state is associated with significant morbidity and mortality. It is important for clinicians to be aware of the current evidence regarding the diagnosis, management, and disposition of these patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)365-375
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Emergency Medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • diabetes
  • endocrine
  • hyperglycemia
  • hyperglycemic hyperosmolar state
  • hyperosmolar
  • hyperosmotic hyperglycemic nonketotic state

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine


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