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Year : 2021  |  Volume : 7  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 220-225

The effects of temperature and outcomes of patients presenting to the emergency department with heat-related illness: A retrospective cross-sectional study

1 Department of Emergency Department, Christian Medical College, Vellore, Tamil Nadu, India
2 Department of Radio Diagnosis, Christian Medical College, Vellore, Tamil Nadu, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Kundavaram Paul Prabhakar Abhilash
Department of Emergency Medicine, Christian Medical College, Vellore - 632 004, Tamil Nadu
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/IJAM.IJAM_97_20

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Introduction: In a tropical country like India, heat-related illnesses are a common occurrence in the unforgiving summer months. Our study aimed to study the profile and outcome of patients with heat-related illnesses presenting to the emergency department (ED). Materials and Methods: This retrospective, cross-sectional study included all patients with heat-related illnesses to the ED during the months of April, May, and June of 2016. Baseline demographic characteristics, computed tomography (CT) brain findings, and hospital outcome were noted. Results: During the 3-month study period, 72 patients presented with heat-related illnesses. Two-thirds (46/72: 63.8%) suffered from heat stroke, whereas one-third (26/72: 36.2%) had heat exhaustion. Classical and exertional types were seen in 46% and 54% of heat strokes, respectively. The mean age (standard deviation) of the patients was 59.7 (13.3) years with a male preponderance (56.9%). Homemakers (37.5%) and manual laborers (20.8%) were most commonly affected. Hypotension at ED arrival was noticed in 20.8% (15/72), whereas tachycardia and tachypnea were noted in 80.5% (58/72) each. The findings on CT of the brain included acute infarcts (5/26: 19.6%) and an intra-cranial bleed (1/26: 3.8%). The mortality rate was 19.5% (14/72). Conclusion: Heat-related illnesses cause significant mortality during the relentless hot summers of a tropical country like India. Homemakers and manual labors were the most affected group. Acute changes were seen in CT brain of a quarter of patients with heat stroke. The following core competencies are addressed in this article: Patient care, Systems-based practice, Medical knowledge, Practice-based learning and improvement.

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