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Severity Of Classic Heat Stroke Recognized

at stroke severe enough to require ICU care -- was properly cooled within the recommended time.

"Because they presented with altered mental status, many of these patients were sent for head CT scans, delaying aggressive cooling measures," explained Ndukwu, "but the information gained from these scans did not contribute to patient management."

Unlike previous studies of classic heat stroke, Ndukwu's team found that the majority (66 percent) of patients developed kidney dysfunction and 45 percent abnormalities in blood clotting, which could contribute to subsequent liver and lung damage. They also found an unexpectedly high rate (57 percent) of pre-existing infections in patients requiring ICU care, placing these patients at additional risk.

"In this unusual episode, we saw sicker patients with more severe disease than is customary. It taught us that classic heat stroke is a deadly disorder, more complex, more often fatal and more permanently disabling than the literature on this disorder would predict. And it drove home the crucial importance of prevention and rapid diagnosis and treatment."

Additional authors of the paper include Jane Dematte, from Michael Reese Hospital; Karen O'Mara, Jennifer Buescher, Sean Forsythe, Raghavendra Adiga and Turi McNamee from the University of Chicago; and Cynthia Whitney, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The research was supported by the Park Ridge Health Foundation and the University of Chicago Clinical Research Center.


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Contact: John Easton
jeaston@mcis.bsd.uchicago.edu
773 702 6241
University of Chicago Medical Center
1-Aug-1998


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