Objectives: This document aimed to summarise the key components of exertional heat stroke (EHS) prehospital management. Methods: Members of the International Olympic Committee Adverse Weather Impact Expert Working Group for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 summarised the current best practice regarding the EHS prehospital management. Results: Sports competitions that are scheduled under high environmental heat stress or those that include events with high metabolic demands should implement and adopt policy and procedures for EHS prehospital management. The basic principles of EHS prehospital care are: early recognition, early diagnosis, rapid, on-site cooling and advanced clinical care. In order to achieve these principles, medical organisers must establish an area called the heat deck within or adjacent to the main medical tent that is optimised for EHS diagnosis, treatment and monitoring. Once admitted to the heat deck, the rectal temperature of the athlete with suspected EHS is assessed to confirm an elevated core body temperature. After EHS is diagnosed, the athlete must be cooled on-site until the rectal temperature is below 39°C. While cooling the athlete, medical providers are recommended to conduct a blood analysis to rule out exercise-associated hyponatraemia or hypoglycaemia, provided that this can be safely performed without interrupting cooling. The athlete is transported to advanced care for a full medical evaluation only after the treatment has been provided on-site. Conclusions: A coordination of care among all medical stakeholders at the sports venue, during transport, and at the hospital is warranted to ensure effective management is provided to the EHS athlete.
- consensus statement
- exertional heat stress
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine