Semin Neurol 2005; 25(3): 307-314
DOI: 10.1055/s-2005-917667
Copyright © 2005 by Thieme Medical Publishers, Inc., 333 Seventh Avenue, New York, NY 10001, USA.


Roy Sucholeiki1
  • 1Assistant Professor of Neurology, Department of Neurology, Loyola University School of Medicine, Maywood, Illinois
Further Information

Publication History

Publication Date:
19 September 2005 (online)


Heatstroke is a syndrome consisting of life-threatening central nervous system and multiple organ dysfunction from complications of hyperthermia. Additionally, there is an associated complex immunological and inflammatory component to the illness that resembles sepsis. Core body temperature exceeds 40°C with associated mental status changes such as delirium and coma. Generalized tonic/clonic seizures can occur. A variable degree of organ involvement is present that contributes to the severity of the medical picture. Heatstroke can be viewed as a tropical neurological disorder especially for unacclimated travelers going to warm climates. Heatstroke can be categorized into two types depending on the cause. Classic heatstroke is nonexertional, environmentally related and exertional heatstroke occurs in the setting of strenuous exercise. Heatstroke is actually the most severe of a continuum of heat-related illnesses that carries a high incidence of mortality. Treatment is directed at rapidly reducing core body temperature and the management of life-threatening systemic complications.


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Roy SucholeikiM.D. 

Department of Neurology, Loyola University School of Medicine

2160 South First Avenue, Maywood, IL 60153