Poikilothermia - Definition, Symptoms, Causes, Treatment, Syndrome

   

Poikilothermia is derived from Greek word poikilosthermé means altered temperature.(Poikilos, varied, and thermé, heat). Normally human have ability to regulate their body temperature according to environmental temperature referred to as Poikilothermy and organism is known as Poikilothermic. Similarly When our body fails to regulate optimum core temperature irrespective of ambient temperature the condition is known as Poikilothermia.

Contents

  • What is Poikilothermia
  • Poikilothermia Definition
  • Poikilothermia Symptoms
  • Poikilothermia Causes
  • Poikilothermia Treatment
  • People with Poikilothermia


What is Poikilothermia


Poikilothermia is derived from Greek word poikilosthermé means altered temperature.(Poikilos, varied, and thermé, heat). Normally human have ability to regulate their body temperature according to environmental temperature referred to as Poikilothermy and organism is known as Poikilothermic. Similarly When our body fails to regulate optimum core temperature irrespective of ambient temperature the condition is known as Poikilothermia.

Poikilothermia - Definition, Symptoms, Causes, Treatment, Syndrome



Poikilothermia Definition


Poikilothermia is defined as pathophysiological syndrome in which intrinsic thermoregulatory mechanism of body fails to regulate constant core temperature. Normally intrinsic thermoregulatory mechanism is being controlled by hypothalamus.
 
Other auxiliary physiological mechanisms that play important role in regulation of body core temperature are sweating, vasodilation and vasoconstriction in the superficial layer of skin, piloerection and shivering.  Due to some pathophysiological event, drug interaction (temporary) or spinal cord injury may lead to poikilothermic syndrome.


Poikilothermia Symptoms


Symptoms of poikilothermia may vary depending upon the underlying cause. However, some common manifestation of poikilothermia are headache, involuntary . spasms of large muscle groups, pallor, paresthesia or numbness, high pulse rate, low oxygen saturation, hyperventilation, weakness, dizziness and blurred vision.


Poikilothermia Causes


Poikilothermia may occur due to multiple reasons for example in case of hyperpyrexia patient may unable to regulate its core body temperature temporarily. Hyperprexia induced Poikilothermia is though temporary but one of the most common underlying factor that triggers this phenomenon by releasing endogenous pyrogens.

Drug-induced thermoregulatory failure is another common factor that disturbs the thermal balance of body via unknown mechanism. Each drug has its own mechanism so, it is difficult to rule out exact mechanism of drug-induced thermoregulatory failure. Among all commonly used medicines, central nervous
system stimulating agents are more commonly reported to cause Drug-induced thermoregulatory failure.

Some other causes of Poikilothermia are induction of anesthesia, alcoholism, heat stroke, narcotics, spinal cord injury, severe infection like meningitis etc.


Poikilothermia Treatment


Poikilothermia treatment is based on symptomatic therapy e.g immediate cooling via sponging in case of elevated temperature or steaming in case of severely low temperature. Dizziness or headache can be managed with OTC drugs but if patient has high pulse and low oxygen saturation rate then immediately seek medical attention otherwise patient may become unconscious leading to coma.


People with Poikilothermia


Until now, only few cases of poikilothermia syndrome have been reported, and most apparently resulted from hypothalamic strokes or tumors. The effects of heat or cold exposure have been evaluated in some patients with poikilothermia.

Only few have undergone formal thermoregulatory evaluation. Recently, a patient was referred to us who had clinical evidence of poikilothermia syndrome, as well as long-standing multiple sclerosis. This combination has been reported once previously, but was not accompanied by a full thermoregulatory evaluation.


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