Inconsistency in the standard of care-toward evidence-based management of exertional heat stroke

Yuri Hosokawa*, Takashi Nagata, Manabu Hasegawa

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics are projected to experience environmental heat stress that surpasses the environmental conditions observed in the Atlanta (1996), Athens (2004), Beijing (2008), and Rio (2016) Summer Olympics. This raises particular concerns for athletes who will likely to be exposed to extreme heat during the competitions. Therefore, in mass-participation event during warm season, it is vital for the hosting organization to build preparedness and resilience against heat, including appropriate treatment, and management strategies for exertional heat stroke (EHS). However, despite the existing literature regarding the evidence-based management of EHS, rectal thermometry and whole-body cold-water immersion are not readily accepted by medical professionals outside of the sports, and military medicine professionals. Current Japanese medical standard is no exception in falling behind on evidence-based management of EHS. Therefore, the first aim of this paper is to elucidate the inconsistency between the standard of care provided in Japan for EHS and what has been accepted as the gold standard by the scientific literature. The second aim of this paper is to provide optimal EHS management strategies that should be implemented at the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics from organizational level to maximize the safety of athletes and to improve organizational resilience to heat. The risk of extreme heat is often neglected until a catastrophic incidence occurs. It is vital for the Japanese medical leadership and athletic communities to reexamine the current EHS management strategies and implement evidence-based countermeasure for EHS to expand the application of scientific knowledge.

Original languageEnglish
Article number108
JournalFrontiers in Physiology
Issue numberFEB
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Cold water immersion
  • Exertional heat illness
  • Exertional heat illness treatment
  • Medical control
  • Pre-hospital care
  • Rectal thermometry

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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