Points to remember about Cardiogenic Shock

By  ,  National Institute of Health
Jan 06, 2013

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  • Cardiogenic shock is a state in which a suddenly weakened heart isn't able to pump enough oxygen-rich blood to meet the body's needs. This condition is a medical emergency and is fatal if not treated right away.
  • The medical term "shock" refers to a state in which not enough blood and oxygen reach important organs in the body, such as the brain and kidneys. Shock can cause very low blood pressure and may be life threatening.
  • The most common cause of cardiogenic shock is damage to the heart muscle from a severe heart attack. However, on average, only about 7 percent of people who have a heart attack develop cardiogenic shock.
  • A lack of oxygen-rich blood reaching the brain, kidneys, skin, and other parts of the body causes the signs and symptoms of cardiogenic shock. Typical signs and symptoms include confusion or a lack of alertness; loss of consciousness; a sudden and sustained rapid heartbeat; sweating; pale skin; a weak pulse; rapid breathing; decreased or no urine output; and cool hands and feet.
  • If you or someone with you is having these signs and symptoms, call 9–1–1 right away for emergency treatment. Prompt treatment can help prevent or limit lasting damage to the heart and other organs and prevent sudden death.
  • The first step in diagnosing shock is to identify that a person is in shock. At that point, emergency treatment should be started. During emergency treatment, doctors can look for the specific cause of the shock. Doctors may use a number of tests to help diagnose cardiogenic shock.
  • Treatment for cardiogenic shock starts with emergency life support to keep the patient alive. Once doctors know that a person is in cardiogenic shock, they can use medicines, medical devices, and surgery to treat the underlying causes of the shock.
  • The best way to prevent cardiogenic shock is to lower your risk for coronary heart disease (CHD) and heart attack. If you already have CHD, it’s important to get ongoing treatment from a doctor who has experience treating patients who have heart problems.
  • If you have a heart attack, you should seek emergency treatment right away to prevent cardiogenic shock and other possible complications. Call 9–1–1 for help. You can begin to receive life-saving treatment as soon as medical personnel arrive.


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