What are the signs and symptoms of heatstroke in hyperthermia?

Updated: Oct 14, 2020
  • Author: Erik D Schraga, MD; Chief Editor: Sage W Wiener, MD  more...
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Symptoms of heatstroke include the following:

  • Elevated core temperature, usually greater than 40.5°C

  • Vague prodrome of weakness, nausea, vomiting, headache

  • CNS symptoms including confusion, ataxia, coma, seizures, delirium

  • Hot, dry skin

  • Hyperdynamic cardiovascular response [8] (high central venous pressure [CVP], low systemic vascular resistance [SVR], tachycardia)

  • Elevation of hepatic transaminases, usually in the tens of thousands range

  • Coagulopathy

  • Rhabdomyolysis and renal failure

This article focuses specifically on rapid cooling techniques for hyperthermic patients, a critical action in the initial resuscitation of patients with heatstroke. In fact, rapid cooling may be the single most important action to prevent death or permanent disability. To mitigate organ damage, the goal should be to reduce rectal temperature to below 40°C within 30 minutes of beginning cooling therapy. [6, 9]

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