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J Neurol Sci. 1998 Apr 1;156(2):144-51.

Heat strokes: aetiopathogenesis, neurological characteristics, treatment and outcome.

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Department of Clinical Neurosciences, Riyadh Armed Forces Hospital, Saudi Arabia.


Heat stroke is a thermal insult to the cerebral thermoregulatory system controlling heat production and heat dissipation. The thermal insult may be environmental as in 'classic heat stroke' or endogenous as in 'exertional heat stroke' in joggers or runners. The insult will lead to a steady rise in body core temperature to 40 degrees C or more, exhaustion of sweating with hot dry skin and central nervous system disturbances ranging from confusion to deep coma. Multisystem insult will follow leading to a fatal outcome, if not diagnosed and treated promptly. Rapid evaporative cooling and support of vital organs are the essential factors in the management of this condition. If treated early, no sequelae results, however, pancerebellar syndrome and spastic or flaccid paraparesis have been described in a few cases. Limited sun exposure, proper use of sunscreens, adequate fluid and electrolyte replacement and acclimatization are the key factors for prevention. Despite appropriate prevention and prompt treatment, heat stroke is unlikely to be totally prevented, but the mortality has improved dramatically to less than 10%.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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