Nursing Diagnosis Definition

The nursing diagnosis for hyperthermia is defined as "abnormally high body temperature." This diagnosis is applicable when a patient's core body temperature rises above the normal range of 36-37 degrees Celsius (96.8-98.6 degrees Fahrenheit).

Defining Characteristics


  • Patient reports feeling hot or feverish: Subjective complaint of elevated body temperature.
  • Patient reports sweating: Subjective observation of sweating.
  • Patient reports decreased mental status or confusion: Subjective indication of altered mental status.


  • Core body temperature greater than 37 degrees Celsius (98.6 degrees Fahrenheit): Objective measurement of elevated core body temperature.
  • Hot, red, or dry skin: Observable changes in skin associated with hyperthermia.
  • Rapid pulse or respirations: Objective signs of increased cardiovascular function in response to hyperthermia.
  • Headache or muscle cramps: Observable signs of discomfort associated with hyperthermia.
  • Decreased mental status or confusion: Observable signs of altered mental status.

Related Factors

  • Exposure to high temperatures or humidity: Being in a hot environment leading to elevated body temperature.
  • Physical exertion or activity in a hot environment: Increased bodily heat production due to physical exertion in hot conditions.
  • Certain medications or medical conditions: Pharmaceutical agents or underlying health conditions impacting thermoregulation.
  • Alcohol or drug use: Substances affecting the body's ability to regulate temperature.
  • Insufficient fluid intake: Dehydration contributing to impaired thermoregulation.

Risk Population

  • Individuals at risk for hyperthermia include those who are exposed to high temperatures or humidity, such as outdoor workers or athletes, as well as those with certain medical conditions or who take certain medications. Additionally, individuals who use alcohol or drugs and those who have insufficient fluid intake may be at risk.

Associated Problems

  • Hyperthermia can lead to a variety of health problems, including:
  • Heat exhaustion: A condition characterized by heavy sweating, weakness, cold, pale, and clammy skin, a fast, weak pulse, and fainting. It is usually caused by physical activity in high temperatures.
  • Heat stroke: A severe form of hyperthermia where the body's cooling mechanisms stop working, leading to a rapid increase in body temperature. It is a medical emergency and can cause damage to the brain and other vital organs.
  • Dehydration: Insufficient fluid levels in the body, often caused by excessive sweating in hot conditions, leading to a range of symptoms from mild to severe.
  • Organ damage: Prolonged exposure to high body temperatures can lead to damage to internal organs, especially if hyperthermia is not promptly addressed and treated.
  • Death: In extreme cases, untreated hyperthermia can result in fatal outcomes, particularly if the body's core temperature remains elevated for an extended period.

Suggestions for Use

  • Assess the patient's body temperature and other vital signs: Regularly monitor core body temperature and vital signs.
  • Identify any factors that may be contributing to the patient's hyperthermia, such as exposure to high temperatures or certain medical conditions: Investigate and address potential causes of hyperthermia.
  • Implement interventions to lower the patient's core body temperature and prevent further heat gain: Utilize cooling measures to counteract hyperthermia.
  • Monitor the patient's response to interventions and adjust as needed: Continuously evaluate the effectiveness of interventions and make necessary modifications.
  • Provide education and resources to the patient and their family about preventing hyperthermia and recognizing the signs and symptoms: Educate patients and families on preventive measures and symptoms of hyperthermia.

Suggested Alternative Diagnoses

  • Hyperthermia, accidental: The elevated body temperature occurs unintentionally due to environmental factors or physical exertion.
  • Hyperthermia, intentional: The elevated body temperature is deliberately induced, often for therapeutic purposes or recreational activities like sauna use.
  • Hyperthermia, risk for: The patient is at an increased risk of developing hyperthermia due to various factors, and preventive measures need to be implemented.
  • Impaired thermoregulation: Dysfunction in the body's ability to regulate temperature, leading to difficulties in maintaining a normal core temperature.
  • Impaired temperature regulation: The patient experiences challenges in maintaining the normal balance between heat production and loss, leading to fluctuations in body temperature.

Usage Tips

  • Be aware of the patient's risk factors and environment, such as high temperatures or humidity: Consider contextual factors influencing hyperthermia.
  • Monitor the patient's vital signs, including body temperature, to detect hyperthermia early: Regularly assess vital signs to identify hyperthermia promptly.
  • Use cooling measures, such as a cool bath or ice packs, to lower the patient's core body temperature: Employ cooling methods for effective temperature reduction.
  • Provide fluids to prevent dehydration and electrolyte imbalances: Ensure adequate fluid intake to prevent dehydration associated with hyperthermia.

NOC Results

  • Thermoregulation: Continuous monitoring of the patient's temperature will be performed, and interventions will be implemented to maintain a normal body temperature.
  • Cardiac Output: Regular monitoring of the patient's cardiac output will be conducted to ensure it is not compromised due to hyperthermia.
  • Respiratory Status: Ongoing assessment of the patient's respiratory status will be carried out to prevent any compromise due to hyperthermia.
  • Fluid and Electrolyte Balance: The patient's fluid and electrolyte balance will be monitored to ensure that they are not compromised due to hyperthermia and dehydration.
  • Neurological Status: Regular monitoring of the patient's neurological status will be conducted to ensure it is not compromised due to hyperthermia.

NIC Interventions

  • Cooling Therapy: The patient will receive cooling therapy, such as a cool bath or ice packs, to lower their core body temperature effectively.
  • Fluid Replacement Therapy: The patient will receive fluids to prevent dehydration and electrolyte imbalances.
  • Monitoring and Assessment: The patient's vital signs and response to interventions will be closely monitored and assessed to ensure appropriate management.
  • Education and Resources: The patient and their family will be provided with education and resources regarding preventing hyperthermia and recognizing the signs and symptoms for proactive health management.

Isabella White

Hello to all nursing enthusiasts! I'm Isabella White and I'm thrilled to welcome you to this space dedicated to the exciting world of nursing. Let me share a little about myself and what we can expect together on this journey. About Me: Nursing is more than just a profession to me, it's a calling. When I'm not caring for my patients or learning more about health and wellness, you'll find me enjoying the great outdoors, exploring new trails in nature, or savoring a good cup of coffee with close friends. I believe in the balance between caring for others and self-care, and I'm here to share that philosophy with you. My Commitment to You: In this space, I commit to being your reliable guide in the world of nursing. Together, we'll explore health topics, share practical tips, and support each other on our journeys to wellness. But we'll also celebrate life beyond the hospital walls, finding moments of joy in the everyday and seeking adventures that inspire us to live fully. In summary, this is a place where nursing meets life, where we'll find support, inspiration, and hopefully a little fun along the way. Thank you for joining me on this exciting journey. Welcome to a world of care, knowledge, and connection! Sincerely, Isabella White

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