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Alternative NamesShock - hypovolemic
Definition Return to top
Hypovolemic shock is an emergency condition in which severe blood and fluid loss makes the heart unable to pump enough blood to the body. This type of shock can cause many organs to stop working.
Causes Return to top
Losing about 1/5 or more of the normal amount of blood in your body causes hypovolemic shock.
Blood loss can be due to:
The amount of circulating blood in your body may drop when you lose too many other body fluids, which can happen with:
Symptoms Return to top
The greater and more rapid the blood loss, the more severe the symptoms of shock.
Exams and Tests Return to top
An examination shows signs of shock, including:
Tests that may be done include:
Treatment Return to top
Get immediate medical help. In the meantime, follow these steps:
The goal of hospital treatment is to replace blood and fluids. An intravenous (IV) line will be put into the person's arm to allow blood or blood products to be given.
Medicines such as dopamine, dobutamine, epinephrine, and norepinephrine may be needed to increase blood pressure and the amount of blood pumped out of the heart (cardiac output).
Other methods that may be used to manage shock include:
Outlook (Prognosis) Return to top
Hypovolemic shock is always a medical emergency. However, symptoms and outcomes can vary depending on:
In general, patients with milder degrees of shock tend to do better than those with more severe shock. In cases of severe hypovolemic shock, death is possible even with immediate medical attention. The elderly are more likely to have poor outcomes from shock.
Possible Complications Return to top
When to Contact a Medical Professional Return to top
Hypovolemic shock is a medical emergency! Call the local emergency number (such as 911) or take the person to the emergency room.
Prevention Return to top
Preventing shock is easier than trying to treat it once it happens. Quickly treating the cause will reduce the risk of developing severe shock. Early first aid can help control shock.
References Return to top
Elbers PW, Ince C. Mechanisms of critical illness--classifying microcirculatory flow abnormalities in distributive shock. Crit Care. 2006;10:221.
Cottingham CA. Resuscitation of traumatic shock: a hemodynamic review. AACN Adv Crit Care. 2006;17:317-326.
Spaniol JR, Knight AR, Zebley JL, Anderson D, Pierce JD. Fluid resuscitation therapy for hemorrhagic shock. J Trauma Nurs. 2007;14:152-156.
Tarrant AM, Ryan MF, Hamilton PA, Bejaminov O. A pictorial review of hypovolaemic shock in adults. Br J Radiol. 2008;81:252-257.
den Uil CA, Klijn E, Lagrand WK, Brugts JJ, Ince C, Spronk PE, Simoons ML. The microcirculation in health and critical disease. Prog Cardiovasc Dis. 2008;51:161-170.Update Date: 10/13/2008 Updated by: John E. Duldner, Jr., MD, MS, Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine, Director of Research, Department of Emergency Medicine, Akron General Medical Center and Northeastern Ohio Universities College of Medicine. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.