What vital signs findings indicate heat stroke?

Updated: Nov 06, 2018
  • Author: Robert S Helman, MD; Chief Editor: Joe Alcock, MD, MS  more...
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Answer

Temperature: Typically, the patient's temperature exceeds 41°C. However, in the presence of sweating, evaporating mechanisms, and the initiation of cooling methods, body temperatures lower than 41°C are common.

Pulse: Tachycardia to rates exceeding 130 beats per minute is common.

Blood pressure: Patients commonly are normotensive, with a wide pulse pressure; however, hypotension is common and may result from a number of factors, including vasodilation of the cutaneous vessels, pooling of the blood in the venous system, and dehydration. Hypotension also may be due to myocardial damage and may signal cardiovascular collapse. Blood pressure will usually correct with normalization of the body temperature.


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