Objectives: To describe the frequencies, presenting characteristics (demographic, clinical and biochemical) and outcomes (duration of admission and mortality rates) for various types of hyperglycaemic crisis.
Methods: Retrospective review of medical records of patients with hyperglycaemic crisis admitted to Nelson Mandela Academic Hospital, Mthatha, E Cape, from 1 January 2008 to 31 December 2009. Outcome measures were duration of admission and mortality.
Results: Data were available for 269 admissions (response rate 81.0%), 169 females and 100 males. Admissions for hyperglycaemia (HG, N=119), and non-hyperosmolar diabetic ketoacidosis (NHDKA, N=97) were more frequent than those for hyperosmolar hyperglycaemic state (HHS, N=29) and hyperosmolar diabetic ketoacidosis (HDKA, N=24). Duration of admission was similar in all groups. Mortality was high in all groups, but was higher in patients with HDKA (37.5%, risk ratio (RR) 3.88, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.41 - 10.67, p=0.009), HHS (31.0%, RR 2.91, 95% CI 1.09 - 7.75, p=0.033) and HG (19.5%, RR 1.56, 95% CI 0.75 - 3.21, p=0.236) than in those with NHDKA (13.4%). HDKA (62.5%) was associated with new-onset diabetes more often than NHDKA (27.8%), HHS (44.8%) or HG (17.6%) (p<0.0001). An altered level of consciousness was more frequent in HDKA than NHDKA admissions (RR 5.71, 95% CI 1.90 - 17.17, p=0.002).
Conclusions: Duration of hospital stay was similar across groups. Mortality rates were high in all groups. New-onset diabetes, altered level of consciousness and mortality were more characteristically associated with HDKA than any of the other types of hyperglycaemic crisis. Optimal glycaemic control in known diabetic patients will reduce rates of hyperglycaemic crisis admissions.