diabetic coma

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Related to Diabetes shock: hyperglycemia, diabetic coma, High blood sugar

coma

 [ko´mah]
a state of unconsciousness from which the patient cannot be aroused, even by powerful stimuli. Traumatic brain injuries are the most frequent cause; other causes include severe uncontrolled diabetes mellitus, liver disease, kidney disease, and neurologic conditions. Evaluation of a patient in a coma is comprehensive. The underlying cause should be identified so that appropriate treatment can be initiated. magnetic resonance imaging, electroencephalography, and brainstem auditory evoked potentials give information about electrical activity of the brain in a patient who is comatose, although the results are not predictive of recovery. Some patients are able to emerge from a coma. In others, the coma may progress to a persistent vegetative state in which the functions of the brainstem and circulation remain relatively intact or may be supported with assistive technologies. Patients in irreversible coma may meet the criteria of brain death.
Schematic representation of major brain stem reflexes used in coma examination. From Marx et al., 2002.
Patient Care. Assessment of the patient in a coma includes an evaluation of vital signs, determination of level of consciousness, neuromuscular responses, and reaction of the pupils to light. In most hospitals a standard form is used to measure and record the patient's responses to stimuli in objective terms. The glasgow coma scale is a standardized tool that aids in assessing a comatose patient and eliminates the use of ambiguous and easily misinterpreted terms such as unconscious and semicomatose. Additional assessment data are gathered relating to the underlying cause and the patient's immobility; these include evaluation of the gag and corneal reflexes. In the absence of gag reflex, regurgitation and aspiration are potential problems.

Abnormal rigidity and posturing in response to noxious stimuli are motor responses to coma. Decorticate rigidity is abnormal flexor posturing, with the arms, wrists, and fingers drawn up. The legs may be extended with plantar flexion. This type of rigidity usually indicates a lesion in the cerebral hemispheres or a disruption of the corticospinal tracts. Decerebrate rigidity is abnormal extensor posturing: in response to painful stimuli the extremities extend rigidly and the palms turn outward. This type of rigidity is indicative of damage to the brainstem and as a rule is a sign of greater cerebral impairment than is decorticate rigidity.

Comatose patients are predisposed to all the hazards of immobility, including impairment of skin integrity and development of pressure ulcers and contractures. A multidisciplinary, coordinated plan of care is essential. Families should be encouraged to be actively involved in care of the patient. The health care team should also recognize the family's need for support; the emotional and financial impacts of coma are usually significant.
alcoholic coma coma accompanying severe alcoholic intoxication.
alpha coma coma in which there are electroencephalographic findings of dominant alpha-wave activity.
diabetic coma the coma of severe diabetic acidosis; see also diabetes mellitus.
hepatic coma coma accompanying cerebral damage resulting from degeneration of liver cells, especially that associated with cirrhosis of the liver.
hyperglycemic hyperosmolar nonketotic coma (hyperosmolar nonketotic coma) see hyperglycemic hyperosmolar nonketotic coma.
irreversible coma brain death.
Kussmaul's coma the coma and air hunger of diabetic acidosis.
myxedema coma an often fatal complication of long-term hypothyroidism in which the patient is comatose with hypothermia, depression of respiration, bradycardia, and hypotension; usually seen in elderly patients during cold weather.
coma vigil locked-in syndrome.

di·a·bet·ic co·ma

coma that develops in severe and inadequately treated cases of diabetes mellitus and is commonly fatal, unless appropriate therapy is instituted promptly; results from reduced oxidative metabolism of the central nervous system that, in turn, stems from severe ketoacidosis and possibly also from the histotoxic action of the ketone bodies and disturbances in water and electrolyte balance.
Synonym(s): Kussmaul coma

diabetic coma

a life-threatening condition occurring in persons with diabetes mellitus. It is caused by undiagnosed diabetes; inadequate treatment; failure to take prescribed insulin; excessive food intake; or, most frequently, infection, surgery, trauma, or other stressors that increase the body's need for insulin. Without insulin to metabolize glucose, fats are used for energy, resulting in ketone waste accumulation and metabolic acidosis. The body's effort to counteract acidosis depletes the alkali reserve; causes a loss of sodium, chloride, potassium, and water; increases respiratory exhalation of carbon dioxide (Kussmaul breathing) and urinary excretion; and leads to dehydration and generalized hypoxia. Warning signs of diabetic coma include a dull headache, fatigue, inordinate thirst, epigastric pain, nausea, vomiting, parched lips, flushed face, and sunken eyes. The temperature usually rises and then falls, the systolic blood pressure drops, and circulatory collapse may occur. Immediate treatment consists of administering short-acting insulin and replacing electrolytes and fluids to correct the acidosis and dehydration. Nonketotic coma may occur in patients with poorly controlled type 2 diabetes mellitus and high levels of blood glucose but no fatty acid breakdown. The plasma hyperosmolarity causes water to leave cells, and the dehydration of cerebral cells results in coma. See also diabetic ketoacidosis, insulin shock.

di·a·bet·ic co·ma

(dī-ă-bet'ik kō'mă)
State that develops in severe and inadequately treated diabetes mellitus and is commonly fatal, unless appropriate therapy is instituted promptly; results from reduced oxidative metabolism of the central nervous system that, in turn, stems from severe ketoacidosis and possibly also from the histotoxic action of the ketone bodies and disturbances in water and electrolyte balance.

Diabetic coma

Reduced level of consciousness that requires immediate medical attention.
Mentioned in: Nausea and Vomiting

Kussmaul,

Adolph, German physician, 1822-1902.
Kussmaul aphasia - mutism in psychosis.
Kussmaul breathing
Kussmaul coma - Synonym(s): diabetic coma
Kussmaul disease - segmental inflammation, with infiltration by eosinophils, and necrosis of medium-sized or small arteries. Synonym(s): polyarteritis nodosa
Kussmaul paradoxical pulse
Kussmaul pulse - reduction or disappearance of the pulse during inspiration.
Kussmaul respiration - deep, rapid respiration characteristic of diabetic or other causes of acidosis. Synonym(s): Kussmaul-Kien respiration
Kussmaul sign - in constrictive pericarditis, a paradoxical increase in venous distention and pressure during inspiration. Synonym(s): Kussmaul symptom
Kussmaul symptom - Synonym(s): Kussmaul sign
Kussmaul-Kien respiration - Synonym(s): Kussmaul respiration

diabetic coma

increasing confusion and loss of consciousness due to poor glycaemic control

di·a·bet·ic co·ma

(dī-ă-bet'ik kō'mă)
Comain severe and inadequately treated cases of diabetes mellitus; commonly fatal, unless appropriate therapy is instituted promptly; results from reduced oxidative metabolism of the central nervous system that, in turn, stems from severe ketoacidosis and possibly also from the histotoxic action of the ketone bodies and disturbances in water and electrolyte balance.

coma

a state of unconsciousness from which the patient cannot be aroused, even by powerful stimuli.

alpha coma
coma in which there are electroencephalographic findings of dominant alpha-wave activity.
diabetic coma
the coma of severe diabetic acidosis. See also diabetes mellitus.
hepatic coma
results from reversible biochemical abnormalities of the cerebrum, caused by elevated blood levels of toxic substances such as ammonia, amino acids, short-chain fatty acids and beta hydroxylated biogenic amines that accumulate in severe liver disease. See also hepatic encephalopathy.
irreversible coma
coma in which for a period of 24 hours there is complete nonreceptivity and nonresponsivity even to the most intensely painful stimuli, no spontaneous movement or breathing, absence of elicitable reflexes, and a flat electroencephalogram. Called also brain death.
myxedema coma
the mental stupor caused by severe hypothyroidism; seen most often in Doberman pinchers, it is associated with hypoventilation, hypothermia, hypotension and bradycardia. Death may occur.
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