Liver transplantation in exertional heat stroke: a medical dilemma

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Abstract

Background:

Exertional heat stroke (EHS) is a life-threatening condition caused by an extreme elevation in core body temperature. Hepatic involvement is one of the hallmarks of heat stroke, affecting nearly all heat stroke patients. It is usually manifested by increased serum levels of liver enzymes, but acute liver failure has also been reported. Liver transplantation has been proposed as a potential treatment in cases of severe liver failure, but there are no unanimous criteria pointing to the right stage in which to conduct the transplantation.

Case presentation:

We report a case of an 18-year old patient who suffered heat-induced liver failure. The patient was referred for orthotopic liver transplantation (OLT) but spontaneously recovered completely with conservative treatment.

Conclusions:

This case demonstrates the complexity of the decision for liver transplantation in EHS. The various prognostic criteria of acute hepatic failure and their relevance to EHS are critically reviewed, with an aim to assess their application for such a condition.

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