Research Article|Articles in Press

The role of platelets in heat-related illness and heat-induced coagulopathy

  • Toshiaki Iba
    Corresponding author at: Emergency and Disaster Medicine, Juntendo University Graduate School of Medicine, 2-1-1 Hongo Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-8421, Japan.
    Department of Emergency and Disaster Medicine, Juntendo University Graduate School of Medicine, Tokyo, Japan
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  • Julie Helms
    Strasbourg University (UNISTRA), Strasbourg, France

    Strasbourg University Hospital, Medical Intensive Care Unit - NHC, Strasbourg, France

    INSERM (French National Institute of Health and Medical Research), UMR 1260, Regenerative Nanomedicine (RNM), FMTS, Strasbourg, France
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  • Marcel Levi
    Department of Vascular Medicine, Amsterdam University Medical Centers, Amsterdam, the Netherlands

    Department of Medicine, University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, and Cardio-metabolic Programme-NIHR UCLH/UCL BRC, London, UK
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  • Jerrold H. Levy
    Department of Anesthesiology, Critical Care, and Surgery, Duke University School of Medicine, Durham, NC, USA
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      Heat-related illness is becoming more problematic due to ongoing global warming. Heat-related injury causes systemic inflammation and coagulopathy, due to leukocyte, platelet, and vascular endothelial cell activation and injury. Hyperthermia directly modulates platelet function and can induce cellular damage. Meanwhile, heat also affects platelet function via activated coagulation, excess inflammation, production of cytokines, and heat shock proteins. Aberrant hyperthermia-induced interactions between leukocytes and endothelial cells are also involved in platelet regulation. Heat-induced coagulopathy commonly progresses to disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC), leading to multiple organ failure and in some cases enhanced bleeding. Consequently, platelet count, prothrombin time, and DIC score are useful for evaluating the severity of heat-related illness in addition to other organ damage markers such as Glasgow Coma Scale, creatinine, and bilirubin. Despite the increasing risk, therapeutic modalities targeting platelets are limited and no established therapy exists. In this review, we summarize the current knowledge about the role of platelets in the pathogenesis, diagnosis, and management of heat-related illness.


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