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Shock occurs when inadequate blood flow threatens the function of multiple organs. Shock is a potentially life-threatening condition. The sooner it is treated, the better the outcome. If you suspect someone is in shock, call for medical help right away.


Some causes of shock include:

Risk Factors

Factors that may increase your chance of shock include:


The symptoms of shock depend on the cause.
Symptoms may include:
Symptom of Shock
Dilated and Constricted pupil
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A physical exam will be done.
Tests may include the following:


Treatment options include the following:

Breathing Resuscitation

If you are having trouble breathing, your doctor will clear your airway. Oxygen and breathing assistance may be provided if you need it.

Optimizing Blood Pressure and Heart Rate

You will receive an IV for fluids and/or blood transfusions. These will stabilize your blood pressure and heart rate.
Insertion of IV for Transfusion or Medications
IV insertion
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You may be given vasopressors. These medications constrict your blood vessels to increase blood pressure. Drugs may also be used to increase your heart contractions. Other medications may be used depending on the underlying cause.


To help reduce your chance of shock:


American College of Emergency Physicians

National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute


Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians

Canadian Red Cross


Hypovolemic shock. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: Updated December 3, 2013. Accessed January 7, 2014.

The signs of hypovolemic shock. Health Guidance website. Available at: Accessed January 7, 2014.

Explore cardiogenic shock. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute website. Available at: Accessed January 7, 2013.

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