Medical Shock

  • Medical Author:
    John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP

    John P. Cunha, DO, is a U.S. board-certified Emergency Medicine Physician. Dr. Cunha's educational background includes a BS in Biology from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, and a DO from the Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences in Kansas City, MO. He completed residency training in Emergency Medicine at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center in Newark, New Jersey.

  • Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

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Can shock be prevented?

Learn ways to prevent heart disease, injuries, dehydration and other causes of shock.

If you have a known allergy, carry an epinephrine pen, which your doctor can prescribe. Avoid severe allergy triggers.

What is the outlook for shock?

Prompt treatment of medical shock is essential for the best outcome. Moreover, the outlook depends on the cause of the shock, the general health of the patient, and the promptness of treatment and recovery.

  • Generally, hypovolemic shock and anaphylactic shock respond well to medical treatment if initiated early.
  • Septic shock is a serious condition with a mortality rate of 24% to 50% according to some estimates. The sooner the infection is treated and fluids are administered, the greater the chances of success. Hospitals are now developing and utilizing specific protocols to identify and aggressively treat septic shock patients.
  • Cardiogenic shock has a poor prognosis, with only 1/3 of patients surviving. Because this type of shock results from injury or dysfunction of the heart it is often difficult to treat and overcome.
  • Spinal shock also has a very poor prognosis because the spinal cord mediates so many important bodily functions. There are currently very few effective treatments but medical research is making advances in the treatment of spinal injuries.

Medically reviewed by Martin E. Zipser, MD; American Board of Surgery

REFERENCES:

MedscapeReference.com. Septic Shock Prognosis.

MedscapeReference.com. Cardiogenic Shock.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 2/5/2015
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