Severe Heat Stroke in an Intensive Care Unit
Amir Halkin, Dina Lev, Oded Szold, Philip Bidermann, Sarah Bulocnic, Pinchas Halpern, Patrick Sorkine
Depts. of Medicine and Surgery, and Intensive Care Unit, Tel Aviv Medical Center
During the August 1998 heat wave in Tel Aviv we admitted many patients for acute heat-related illness; 6 had severe heat stroke and were admitted in critical condition. We describe their clinical courses during the first 5 days of hospitalization, including response to treatment and implications for future management of this disorder.
The mean APACHE II score of the 6 was 30±3.5 and mean Glasgow Coma Scale rating 3.5±0.5; they were in hypovolemic shock and respiratory failure, necessitating mechanical ventilation. Despite early effective therapy (core temperature in all was reduced to less than 398C in less than 1 hour), there was 1 death (mortality 15%) and 4 required further intensive care for life-threatening multiple organ failure.
During severe heat waves a significant number of referrals for acute heat-related illness must be anticipated, possibly overwhelming admission capacity of regional intensive-care units. Severe heat stroke complicated by multi-organ failure is not necessarily related to prior physical activity. Although important in determining prognosis, early treatment does not prevent severe complications. Mechanisms regulating body heat may remain disturbed for days following early treatment and apparent stabilization, mandating continued hospitalization.