JUN 18, 2019 2:24 PM PDT

Defining Cardiogenic Shock, New Guidelines

WRITTEN BY: Abbie Arce

Cardiogenic shock (CS) occurs when the heart suddenly is unable to pump sufficient blood to meet the body’s needs. Most often, this condition is caused by a severe heart attack. This damages the left ventricle, the portion of the heart responsible for pumping blood throughout the body. That said, not all people who experience a heart attack will also experience CS. Rarely, CS may be caused by damage to the right ventricle, which delivers blood to the lungs. Other less common causes of CS may include myocarditis, endocarditis, drug use, or poisoning.

Although CS is rare, when it does occur, it is often fatal. Even when treated immediately, only about half of those who suffer CS will survive.

Some of the symptoms associated with CS are severe shortness of breath, cold extremities, nausea, loss of consciousness, or a weak pulse. Because a heart attack usually causes this condition, it is also important to know heart attack symptoms and to seek medical attention if necessary.  Not only can CS be fatal, if you do survive, but there is also a risk to your other organs caused by lack of oxygen, which may cause permanent damage.

Risk factors for CS include advanced age, a history of heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and being female.

One reason the condition is so deadly is a lack of consistent communication across medical specialties and throughout research when describing patients and their symptoms. For that reason, a newly released expert consensus statement has been provided, which proposes a classification framework for CS. This will help eradicate ambiguity in diagnosis and treatment.

The statement was released in Catheterization and Cardiovascular Interventions Journal. It has been endorsed by the American Heart Association, the American College of Cardiology, and The Society of Thoracic Surgeons.

The document was drafted by a team of leading experts across medicine, which reflects the team-based care patients receive during treatment. It contains a standardized vocabulary to aid in producing better patient outcomes and reduce CS-associated mortality.

This new set of guidelines comes as part of a broader push to reduce deaths from CS. New protocols are currently being used at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit that show vast improvements in patient outcomes. Although traditional, and still most commonly used, treatments for CS have a survival rate of 50% when immediately applied, new techniques are improving patient outcomes and increasing patient survival up to 77%.

The above video from Khan Academy goes into depth about this cardiogenic shock. 



Sources: Diagnostic and Interventional Cardiology

About the Author
  • Abbie is an AFAA certified personal trainer and fitness instructor with an interest in all things health-science. She has recently graduated with her BS in Applied Sport and Exercise Science from Barry University in Miami. Next, she intends to earn an MPH with a focus in Epidemiology.
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