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Cardiogenic shock

Cardiogenic shock
Classification & external resources
ICD-10 R57.0
ICD-9 785.51

Cardiogenic shock is based upon an inadequate circulation of blood due to primary failure of the ventricles of the heart to function effectively.[1] [2] [3] [4] [5]

Since this is a category of shock there is insufficient perfusion of tissue (i.e. the heart) to meet the required demand for oxygen and nutrients. This leads to cell death from oxygen starvation, hypoxia. Because of this it may lead to cardiac arrest (or circulatory arrest) which is an acute cessation of cardiac pump function.[4]

Cardiogenic shock is defined by sustained hypotension with tissue hypoperfusion despite adequate left ventricular filling pressure. Signs of tissue hypoperfusion include oliguria (<30 mL/h), cool extremities, and altered mentation.



Cardiogenic shock is caused by the failure of the heart to pump effectively. It can be due to damage to the heart muscle, most often from a large myocardial infarction. Other causes include arrhythmia, cardiomyopathy, cardiac valve problems, ventricular outflow obstruction (i.e. aortic valve stenosis, aortic dissection, systolic anterior motion (SAM) in hypertrophic cardiomyopathy), ventriculoseptal defects or medical error. [1] [2] [4] [3] [5] [6] [7]

Signs and symptoms

  • Anxiety, restlessness, altered mental state due to decreased cerebral perfusion and subsequent hypoxia.
  • Hypotension due to decrease in cardiac output.
  • A rapid, weak, thready pulse due to decreased circulation combined with tachycardia.
  • Cool, clammy, and mottled skin (cutis marmorata), due to vasoconstriction and subsequent hypoperfusion of the skin.
  • Distended jugular veins due to increased jugular venous pressure.
  • Oliguria (low urine output) due insufficient renal perfusion if condition persists.
  • Rapid and deep respirations (hyperventilation) due to sympathetic nervous system stimulation and acidosis.
  • Fatigue due to hyperventilation and hypoxia.
  • Absent pulse in tachyarrhythmia.
  • Pulmonary edema, involving fluid back-up in the lungs due to insufficient pumping of the heart.



An electrocardiogram helps establishing the exact diagnosis and guides treatment, it may reveal:


Echocardiography may show arrhythmia, signs of PED, ventricular septal rupture (VSR), an obstructed outflow tract or cardiomyopathy.

Swan-ganz catheter

The Swan-ganz catheter or Pulmonary artery catheter may assist in the diagnosis by providing information on the hemodynamics.


In case of suspected cardiomyopathy a biopsy of heart muscle may be needed to make a definite diagnosis.


In cardiogenic shock: depending on the type of myocardal infarction one can infuse fluids or in shock refractory to infusing fluids inotropica. In case of cardiac arrhythmia several anti-arrhythmic agents may be administered, i.e. adenosine, verapamil, amiodarone, β-blocker. Positive inotropic agents, which enhance the heart's pumping capabilities, are used to improve the contractility and correct the hypotension. Should that not suffice an intra-aortic balloon pump (which reduces workload for the heart, and improves perfusion of the coronary arteries) can be considered or a left ventricular assist device (which augments the pump-function of the heart). [1] [2] [3]

See also


  1. ^ a b c Irwin and Rippe's Intensive Care Medicine by Irwin and Rippe, Fifth Edition (2003), Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, ISBN 0-7817-3548-3
  2. ^ a b c The ICU Book by Paul Marino MD, PhD, Second Edition (1997), Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, ISBN 0-683-05565-8
  3. ^ a b c Fundamental Critical Care Support, A standardized curriculum of Critical Care by the Society of Critical Care Medicine
  4. ^ a b c Textbooks of Internal Medicine
    • Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine 16th Edition, The McGraw-Hill Companies, ISBN 0-07-140235-7
    • Cecil Textbook of Medicine by Lee Goldman, Dennis Ausiello, 22nd Edition (2003), W.B. Saunders Company, ISBN 0-7216-9652-X
    • The Oxford Textbook of Medicine Edited by David A. Warrell, Timothy M. Cox and John D. Firth with Edward J. Benz, Fourth Edition (2003), Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-262922-0
  5. ^ a b Shock: An Overview PDF by Michael L. Cheatham, MD, Ernest F.J. Block, MD, Howard G. Smith, MD, John T. Promes, MD, Surgical Critical Care Service, Department of Surgical Education, Orlando Regional Medical Center Orlando, Florida
  6. ^ Cardiogenic shock Department of Anaesthesia and Intensive Care of The Chinese University of Hong Kong
  7. ^ Introduction to management of shock for junior ICU trainees and medical students Department of Anaesthesia and Intensive Care of The Chinese University of Hong Kong


  • Irwin, R.S., Rippe, J.M., Curley, F.J., Heard, S.O. (1997) Procedures and Techniques in Intensive Care Medicine (3rd edition). Boston: Lippincott, Williams and Wilkins.
  • Marino, P. (1997) The ICU Book. (2nd edition). Philadelphia: Lippincott, Williams and Wilkins.
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Cardiogenic_shock". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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