What is Cardiogenic Shock?

By  ,  National Institute of Health
Jan 15, 2013

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Cardiogenic (kar-dee-oh-JE-nik) shock is a state in which a suddenly weakened heart isn't able to pump enough blood to meet the body's needs.


The condition is a medical emergency and is fatal if not treated right away.

The most common cause of cardiogenic shock is damage to the heart muscle from a severe heart attack. However, not everyone who has a heart attack develops cardiogenic shock. In fact, on average, only about 7 percent of people who have heart attacks develop the condition.

When cardiogenic shock does occur, it's very dangerous. When people die from heart attacks in hospitals, cardiogenic shock is the most common cause of death.

What Is Shock?

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.

When a person is in shock (from any cause), not enough blood and oxygen is reaching the body's organs. If shock lasts more than a few minutes, the lack of oxygen to the organs starts to damage them. If shock isn't treated quickly, it can cause permanent organ damage or death.


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