Pathological Effects

Increased body temperature can produce tissue damage by a variety of mechanisms.

Body temperatures in excess of 40°C can cause direct cellular injury. Temperatures above 42°C can directly cause cell death.

Elevated body temperature damages vascular endothelial surfaces and this causes increased vascular permeability and the activation of the coagulation cascades. Capillary leak and coagulopathy then occur [4].

Increased core temperatures can activate numerous pro-inflammatory pathways. A systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS) occurs in heat stroke, leading to multi-organ failure [5].

Dehydration through excessive sweat production, combined with vasodilatation, causes decreased renal and splanchnic perfusion. Renal failure and translocation of endotoxins across the gut wall results.