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Hyperglycemic Hyperosmolar Nonketotic Coma (HHNKC)


Updated April 22, 2014


Hyperglycemic hyperosmolar nonketotic coma (HHNKC) is an extremely serious complication of type 2 diabetes, most often occurring in those who are non-insulin dependent.

HHNKC is caused by severely elevated blood glucose levels, usually over 600 mg/dl. Symptoms can include weakness, increased thirst, nausea, lethargy, confusion and ultimately, convulsions, and coma. Onset of these symptoms can be slow and insidious, building over a period of days or weeks.

HHNKC frequently happens in the elderly and is usually precipitated by another illness, such as infection or flu, or sometimes a chronic condition such as congestive heart failure or renal failure. HHNKC is an emergency that requires immediate medical care.


Phipps, W. (Ed.). (1995). In Medical-Surgical Nursing - Concepts and Clinical Practice (5th ed.), St. Louis: Mosby.

Also Known As: Diabetic Hyperglycemic Hyperosmolar Coma (HHOC), Hyperosmolar Nonketotic Coma (HONK) or Hyperosmolar Hyperglycemic State (HHS)

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