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Pathophysiology and management of hyperthermia 

Pathophysiology and management of hyperthermia
Pathophysiology and management of hyperthermia

Abderrezak Bouchama

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date: 16 May 2022

Hyperthermia is a state of elevated core temperature that rises rapidly above 40°C, secondary to failure of thermoregulation. Hyperthermia has many causes, but it is the hallmark of three conditions—heatstroke, malignant hyperthermia, and neuroleptic malignant syndrome. The clinical and metabolic alterations of hyperthermia, if left untreated, can culminate in multiple organ system failure and death. High temperature causes direct cellular death and tissue damage. The extent of tissue injury is a function of the degree and duration of hyperthermia. Heat-induced ischaemia-reperfusion injury, and exacerbated activation of inflammation and coagulation are also contributory. Hyperthermia is a true medical emergency with rapid progression to multiple organ system failure and death. The primary therapeutic goal is to reduce body temperature as quickly as possible using physical cooling methods, and if indicated, the use of pharmacological treatment to accelerate cooling. There is no evidence of the superiority of one cooling technique over another. Non-invasive techniques that are easy to use and well-tolerated are preferred. Pharmacological cooling with Dantrolene sodium is crucial in the treatment of malignant hyperthermia.

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