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Non-Exertional Heatstroke: A Case Report and Review of the Literature

Chiara Mozzini, Giovanni Xotta, Ulisse Garbin, Anna Maria Fratta Pasini, Luciano Cominacini

(Department of Medicine, Section of Internal Medicine, University of Verona, Verona, Italy)

Am J Case Rep 2017; 18:1058-1065

DOI: 10.12659/AJCR.905701


BACKGROUND: Heatstroke (HS) is a life-threatening condition characterized by an elevation of the core body temperature above 40°C, central nervous system dysfunction, and possible multi-organ failure. HS can trigger systemic inflammation, disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC), rhabdomyolysis, cerebral edema and seizures, pulmonary edema, heart dysfunctions, and renal and hepatic failure.
CASE REPORT: We report the case of a 41-year-old Romanian woman with a history of alcoholism who developed HS after arriving by bus in Verona, Italy in June 2016. The patient developed consecutive multi-organ dysfunction, including liver and renal failure, rhabdomyolysis, DIC, and arrhythmia. The patient was successfully treated with conservative measures. After 17 days, she recovered completely.
CONCLUSIONS: The exact mechanism of HS-related multiple organ dysfunction is not completely understood and its pathogenesis is complex. It involves inflammation, oxidative stress, endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress, and mitochondrial dysfunction. Development of a model in which chronic alcohol abuse alters oxidative, inflammatory, and ER stress response could also be a conceivable solution to the positive prognosis of severe HS patients, in which liver failure has a prominent role.

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