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Circulatory Shock

more about Circulatory Shock


Shock, hypovolemic shock, or circulatory collapse

  • Any condition that leads to a sudden reduction of blood (oxygen and vital nutrients) flow to the body's major organs can adversely affect their function, putting the individual in a state known as shock. In shock, the blood's ability to remove metabolic and toxic cellular waste is also affected by the reduction of blood flow.

  • The mechanism of shock is extremely complicated, directly involving the body's system in relation to hormonal and chemical cascades.
  • Hypovolemic shock refers to the conditions affecting the blood volume and it's availability to the body.
  • Blood loss due to trauma, major surgery, childbirth, rupture of an abdominal aortic aneurysm, gastrointestinal bleeding (e.g., perforated stomach ulcer).
  • Diarrhea (e.g., Cholera, Burns are conditions in which a significant amount of fluids are lost, thus reducing the overall blood volume.
  • Loss of blood from the vessels into the surrounding tissues, thus reducing actual volume that may arise from anaphylactic shock or pancreatitis
  • Cardiogenic shock -- pump failure occurs when the blood volume is adequate, but the heart is not able to pump it or get it to the body's organs.
  • Conditions such as an acute Myocardial Infarction (heart attack), arrythmias, and mitral valve rupture are some of these causes.
  • Distributive shock results from conditions that cause the blood vessels to dilate (enlarge), leading to a pooling of blood and reduction of it's overall force and volume to the vital organs. Examples of theses conditions are septic shock (see Sepsis), Abscess, peritonitis, Pneumonia, Toxic Shock Syndrome, drug overdose (Narcotics, barbiturates) spinal cord damage, spinal anesthesias and anaphylactic shock (severe allergic reaction).
  • Obstructive shock occurs when the heart is unable to pump blood out because of external factors that impede the flow of the blood, such as Cardiac Tamponade, Pulmonary Embolism, vena caval obstruction, Aortic Dissection and aortic compression by a tumor or neoplasm.
  • See specific diseases above for symptoms, diagnosis and treatments.




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