The pumping of blood by the heart and its subsequent circulation around the body is referred to as the cardiovascular system. This system provides oxygen, and vital nutrients to the body's organs and tissues.
What is shock?
There are several forms of shock. In all types of shock, however, metabolic failure occurs, which is when the metabolic demands of the body’s tissues and organs are not met by their blood supply. The other common forms of shock include septic shock (caused by massive blood infection) and hypovolemic shock (due to massive loss in blood volume either due to bleeding or other causes).
In cardiogenic shock, the metabolic failure is caused by inadequate circulation due to the heart not pumping effectively. In most of other forms of shock, the heart may eventually fail but in the case of cardiogenic shock, the main cause of shock in the first place is heart failure. The damage caused to the heart in cardiogenic shock may be due to myocardial infarction, arrhythmia, cardiac valve problems, obstruction of ventricular outflow or cardiomyopathy.
What happens in cardiogenic shock?
In most cases of cardiogenic shock, the left ventricle (the heart’s main pumping chamber) has become damaged as a result of heart attack. As the heart fails to pump enough blood to meet the body’s demands for oxygen and nutrients, cells in vital organs and tissues begin to die. This can eventually lead to serious adverse events such as cardiac arrest, and the blood may stop being pumped altogether.
The symptoms of cardiogenic shock include:
- Fast breathing rate
- Fast heart beat
- Shortness of breath
- Cold hands and feet
- Weak pulse
- Loss of consciousness
- Reduced urination
Reviewed by Sally Robertson, BSc