Diagnosis and Acute Management of Hyperglycemic Hyperosmolar Syndrome in Children and Adolescents

Pediatr Emerg Care. 2023 Sep 1;39(9):721-725. doi: 10.1097/PEC.0000000000003022.


Hyperglycemic hyperosmolar syndrome (HHS) is an indolent process characterized by significantly increased levels of serum glucose, high osmolality, and electrolyte abnormalities. The incidence of HHS has steadily risen in the pediatric population over the past several years. Patients with HHS often present with profound dehydration, fatigue, and early mental status changes. Primary emergency management of HHS involves fluid replacement, hemodynamic support, correcting electrolyte derangements, and addressing complications and underlying illnesses. Insulin is not an initial therapy in HHS and should be considered only after the patient's fluids and electrolytes have been repleted. Unlike in diabetic ketoacidosis, HHS patients are not acidotic, although children may present with mixed HHS/diabetic ketoacidosis syndromes. Complications of HHS include thrombosis, rhabdomyolysis, and, rarely, malignant hyperthermia.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Coma
  • Diabetic Ketoacidosis* / complications
  • Diabetic Ketoacidosis* / diagnosis
  • Diabetic Ketoacidosis* / therapy
  • Fatigue
  • Humans
  • Insulin
  • Mental Disorders*


  • Insulin