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Neurological manifestations and their functional impact in subjects who have suffered heatstroke
INTRODUCTION. Heatstroke is a potentially fatal medical emergency characterised by an increase in body temperature above 40 °C and which is accompanied by negative effects on the central nervous system secondary to failure of the thermoregulatory system. If timely care is not provided, the consequences can be fatal and the patient dies, but they can also result in permanent disabling neurological sequelae that compromise the individual’s quality of life. CASE REPORTS. Following a retrospective search on patients diagnosed with heatstroke who were admitted to a brain damage rehabilitation unit, we report the cases of five subjects. The clinical spectrum ranged from motor weakness with severely compromised coordination and balance with ataxia and dysarthria, which were accompanied by cognitive impairment of varying degrees of severity. All the patients required help in performing their basic activities of daily living both before and after treatment with rehabilitation.
CONCLUSIONS. No functional improvement was observed in the five subjects after completing rehabilitation, which left them wholly dependent on some caregiver. It is therefore essential to prevent heatstroke, provide immediate medical care and, finally, once the clinical signs and symptoms have set in, rehabilitation treatment must be focused on preventing the appearance of complications. In such a situation the existence of social support for relatives and for patients plays a crucial role.
Brain damageDisabilityHeatstrokeNeurological sequelaeRehabilitationNeuropsicología