Cardiogenic Shock: A Tired Heart – Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Definition of Shock or Cardiogenic Shock.

When the heart does not pump with enough force, the blood does not flow well through the body. In severe cases, a poorly pumped heart can not supply enough oxygen and nutrients to the lungs, brain, kidneys and other vital organs.

This is a condition called “shock” or “shock.” When the shock is caused by a problem in the heart, the condition is called shock or cardiogenic shock. This is a serious condition, which occurs in up to 10 percent of people who have had a heart attack.


The most common cause is due to a heart attack , which can leave a large part of the heart unable to pump blood effectively, causing a decrease in blood pressure.

Other possible causes of cardiogenic shock are due to:

  • The fluid that accumulates around the heart and the pressure in the heart.
  • A tear in the heart muscle, which changes the way blood flows.
  • A weak heart that becomes even weaker (cardiomyopathy).

Heart failure The heart is not able to pump blood efficiently. The fluid can leak into the lungs or accumulate too much in the veins. In severe cases, this can lead to cardiogenic shock .

Worsening of problems with heart valves, especially if aortic stenosis occurs (when the valve between the heart, the aorta and the main artery, does not open completely).

Medications such as beta blockers and calcium channel blockers or medications that are toxic to the heart. An example would be the cancer drug doxorubicin.

  • A tumor that grows in the heart (myxoma).
  • Heart muscle infection (myocarditis).

A blood clot that blocks the artery that carries blood from the heart to the lungs (pulmonary embolism).


The main signs and symptoms of cardiogenic shock are:

  • Low blood pressure.
  • Sweating
  • Urinate less often than usual.
  • Feeling nauseated (like you need to vomit).
  • Fainting.
  • Weakness.
  • Pale skin.
  • Cold hands or feet
  • Shallow and rapid breathing.
  • Confusion.


It is done by measuring blood pressure and other “vital signs”. You are in shock when the blood pressure is too low (if the higher number in the reading is less than 90); Also the measurements of your pulse (how fast the heart is beating) and your breathing rate are also important.

It will be evaluated if it presents sweat, pale skin or with the appearance of a blue tint that is a sign of a possible shock. Blood tests can be done to find out if you have had a heart attack. You will have an electrocardiogram (called an ECG or EKG) to look for signs of a heart attack.

A chest x-ray can be used to see if fluid has accumulated in your heart or lungs or if your heart is enlarged.

Treatment for Cardiogenic Shock

  • The treatment is to make the blood flow again in your body, especially in the part of the heart that is damaged. The treatment will be carried out in the emergency room and intensive care unit of the hospital or clinic. It will include:
  • Medicines.
  • Surgery, to get the blood flowing again by creating new or improved blood vessels (revascularization).
  • A procedure that uses a small surgical balloon to open arteries and improve blood flow (angioplasty).
  • Surgery to correct any problem with the structure of the heart.
  • A heart transplant may be recommended, but this is done rarely.


There are excellent treatments available for people with cardiogenic shock. However, this is a serious, life-threatening condition. Quick treatment in an emergency medical center is very important.

The factors that affect the chances of survival are:

How fast is the shock being treated?

How fast can the healthcare team restore the blood supply to your heart’s blood vessels (revascularization)?

  • Your age.
  • The problems of the past with your heart.
  • Your general health
  • Any other health condition you may have.
  • Complications related

The problems that can result from having cardiogenic shock include:

  • Infection.
  • The repetitive surgeries.
  • A long time of recovery.
  • Long-term limitations on activities and exercise.
  • Death.