Heat stroke is defined by central nervous system abnormalities and failure of proper maintenance of thermoregulation as a result of high core body temperature ensuing from exposure to high environmental temperatures or strenuous exercise. Common complications include acute respiratory distress syndrome, disseminated intravascular coagulation, acute renal injury, hepatic injury, and rhabdomyolysis. Myocardial injury may also occur during heat stroke, resulting in cardiac enzyme increase and ST-segment changes on the ECG. Such findings might behave as diagnostic pitfalls by mimicking the presentation of coronary artery occlusive myocardial infarction. A previous case report described a patient with heat stroke and ST-segment elevation, in which the definite cause of the ST-segment elevation was unclear; however, acute myocardial infarction caused by coronary artery disease was ruled out according to the clinical signs, serial ECG changes, and serum level of cardiac biomarkers. Stress-induced cardiomyopathy (Takotsubo cardiomyopathy) was suspected, but it could not be confirmed because of the lack of coronary angiography. We herein report a case of heat stroke presenting with ST-segment elevation and cardiogenic shock. Coronary angiography was performed and coronary artery occlusive myocardial infarction was ruled out because of the presence of patent coronary arteries. Left ventriculography showed midventricular and apical hypokinesis, and stress-induced cardiomyopathy was then determined to be the appropriate diagnosis. Heat stroke causes increase of serum catecholamine levels, in which oversecretion and abnormal responses to catecholamines are a possible cause of stress-induced cardiomyopathy. Catecholamines may therefore be the key in linking heat stroke and stress-induced cardiomyopathy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)63-66
Number of pages4
JournalAnnals of Emergency Medicine
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine


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