Amidst the rising temperature across the city, doctors have warned the residents of blood clotting in the brain due to excessive dehydration. Most of the major civic-run hospitals in Mumbai have received about eight to 10 patients with such life-threatening conditions.
The city has been recording scorching heat for the last couple of days.
On Thursday, the financial capital witnessed ‘above normal’ temperatures in daytime with the maximum being 37.3 degree Celsius at 1 pm — as per the Indian Meteorological Department’s Santacruz observatory.
With this, doctors have cautioned the residents about a rare heat-related neurological compilations — cerebral venous sinus thrombosis — which means venous blood clots of the major veins in the brain.
Dr Aadil Chagla, head of department (Neurosurgery) of KEM Hospital, said that such incidents are quite common during summer. “We have received around 10 such patients so far. Surgery is required in some cases, wherein the skull cap is drilled open and the brain is decompressed to remove blood clots,” said Dr Chagla.
Explaining the same, Dr Tushar Raut, consultant (Neurology) at Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital, said, “Excessive dehydration could lead to an increase in red blood cell concentration (hematocrit), which results in aggregation of red blood cells and platelets, leading to the formation of blood clots. These blood clots could potentially cause a stroke.”
While arterial strokes caused by excessive dehydration are not common, venous sinus thrombosis leading to a venous stroke is more frequently observed in patients due to excessive heat. Heat-related issues could lead to encephalopathy or drowsiness — more commonly seen — as well as occasionally seizures. Additionally, electrolyte imbalances are likely to occur.
Dr Bharat Jagiasi, secretary of Indian Society of Critical Care Medicine (ISCCM), said, “Cerebral venous sinus thrombosis is equally life-threatening as arterial strokes, when the clotted veins lead to swelling, which could prove fatal.” In the last one month, Dr Jagiasi has treated two such patients.
Doctors have also cautioned all about not misjudging cerebral venous sinus thrombosis with heat strokes, in which the body fails to sweat and this leads to an increase in the core body temperature amidst exposure to excessive heat. As the body fails to cool down, the temperature could rise up to 106 degrees Fahrenheit within a few minutes.
The treatment for excessive heat-related issues involves implementation of cooling measures such as external cooling blankets and blowers. “Internal cooling could be achieved by administering intravenous cold saline. Supportive measures are also crucial, and may include pain control for headaches, seizure control, and management of airway and oxygen levels. In case of venous strokes, resulting from excessive heat, short-term administration of blood thinners are likely to be necessary,” said Dr Raut.
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