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Nonketotic hyperosmolar coma

Nonketotic hyperosmolar coma
Classification & external resources
ICD-9 250.2
DiseasesDB 29213
eMedicine emerg/264 
MeSH D006944

Nonketotic hyperosmolar coma (nonketotic hyperglycaemia) is a type of diabetic coma associated with a high mortality seen in diabetes mellitus type 2. The preferred term used by the American Diabetes Association is hyperosmolar nonketotic state (HNS). Other commonly used names are hyperosmolar hyperglycemic nonketotic coma (HHNKC)[1] or hyperosmotic non-ketotic acidosis (HONK).



Nonketotic coma is usually precipitated by an acute illness, myocardial infarction or stroke. A relative insulin deficiency leads to a serum glucose that is usually higher than 33mmol/l (600 mg/dl), and a resulting serum osmolarity that is greater than 350 mOsm. This leads to polyuria (an osmotic diuresis), which, in turn, leads to volume depletion and hemoconcentration that causes a further increase in blood glucose level. Ketosis is absent because the presence of some insulin inhibits lipolysis, unlike diabetic ketoacidosis.

Clinical presentation

Diabetes mellitus
Types of Diabetes
Diabetes mellitus type 1
Diabetes mellitus type 2
Gestational diabetes

Impaired fasting glycaemia
Impaired glucose tolerance

Disease Management
Diabetes management:
Diabetic diet
Anti-diabetic drugs
Conventional insulinotherapy
Intensive insulinotherapy
Other Concerns
Cardiovascular disease

Diabetic comas:
Diabetic hypoglycemia
Diabetic ketoacidosis
Nonketotic hyperosmolar

Diabetic myonecrosis
Diabetic nephropathy
Diabetic neuropathy
Diabetic retinopathy

Diabetes and pregnancy

Blood tests
Blood sugar
Glucose tolerance test
Glycosylated hemoglobin

The increasing hemoconcentration and volume depletion may result in:

  • Hyperviscosity and increased risk of thrombosis
  • Disturbed mentation
  • Neurologic signs including focal signs such as sensory or motor impairments or focal seizures or motor abnormalities, including flacidity, depressed reflexes, tremors or fasciculations.
  • Ultimately, if untreated, will lead to death.


The treatment involves slow hydration, replacement of electrolytes and intravenous insulin. Anticoagulants (such as low molecular weight heparins) are often commenced as there is a significant rate of thrombosis in patients with NKHC. Mortality is 30% to 50%.[citation needed]


  1. ^ Cirasino L, Thiella G, Invernizzi R, Silvani A, Ragaini S (1992). "Hyperosmolar hyperglycemic nonketotic coma in Waldenström's macroglobulinemia associated with type II diabetes and complicated by pulmonary tuberculosis". Recenti progressi in medicina 83 (4): 194–6. PMID 1626111.

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Nonketotic_hyperosmolar_coma". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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