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Heat syncope
Classification and external resources
ICD-10 T67.1
ICD-9 992.1

Heat syncope is another stage in the same process as heat stroke, occurs under similar conditions as heat stroke and is not distinguished from the latter by some authorities. The basic symptom of heat syncope is a body temperature above 40°C (104°F) with fainting, or without mental confusion, which does occur in heat stroke. Heat syncope is caused by mild overheating with inadequate water or salt. In young persons, it is far more common than true sunstroke.

Classification

Heat syncope is a type of heat illness

Causes

Heat syncope occurs when blood pressure is lowered as the body dilates (widens) arterioles (small blood vessels) in the skin to radiate heat. Also, water is evaporated from the blood, reducing the blood's volume and therefore lowering blood pressure further. The result is less blood to the brain, causing light-headedness and fainting.

Treatment

The basic treatment for heat syncope is like that for fainting: the patient is positioned in a seating or supine position with legs raised. Water and oral rehydration salt are administered slowly, and the patient is moved to a cooler area.

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