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Cardiogenic Shock Clinical Presentation

  • Author: Xiushui (Mike) Ren, MD; Chief Editor: Henry H Ooi, MD, MRCPI  more...
 
Updated: Dec 13, 2015
 

History

Cardiogenic shock is a medical emergency. A complete clinical assessment is critical to understanding the cause of the shock and to targeting therapy for correcting the cause. The presenting history will vary depending on the underlying etiology of cardiogenic shock.

Cardiogenic shock following acute MI generally develops after admission to the hospital, although a small number of patients are in shock at presentation. Patients demonstrate clinical evidence of hypoperfusion (low cardiac output), which is manifested by sinus tachycardia, low urine output, and cool extremities. Systemic hypotension, defined as systolic blood pressure below 90 mm Hg or a decrease in mean blood pressure by 30 mm Hg, ultimately develops and further propagates tissue hypoperfusion.

Most patients who develop acute MI present with an abrupt onset of squeezing or heavy substernal chest pain; the pain may radiate to the left arm or the neck. The chest pain may be atypical, the location being epigastric or only in the neck or arm. The pain quality may be burning, sharp, or stabbing. Pain may be absent in persons with diabetes or in elderly individuals.

Patients also may report associated autonomic symptoms, including nausea, vomiting, and sweating.

A history of previous cardiac disease, use of cocaine, previous myocardial infarction (MI), or previous cardiac surgery should be obtained. A patient thought to have myocardial ischemia should be assessed for cardiac risk factors. The evaluation should reveal a history of hyperlipidemia, left ventricular hypertrophy, hypertension, or cigarette smoking or a family history of premature coronary artery disease. The presence of 2 or more risk factors increases the likelihood of acute MI.

Other associated symptoms are diaphoresis, exertional dyspnea, or dyspnea at rest. Presyncope or syncope, palpitations, generalized anxiety, and depression are other features indicative of poor cardiac function.

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Physical Examination

Cardiogenic shock is diagnosed after documentation of myocardial dysfunction and exclusion of alternative causes of hypotension, such as hypovolemia, hemorrhage, sepsis, pulmonary embolism, pericardial tamponade, aortic dissection, or preexisting valvular disease. Shock is present if evidence of multisystem organ hypoperfusion in the presence of hypotension is detected upon physical examination (systolic blood pressure <90 mm Hg, cardiac index <2.2 L/min/m2, and in the presence of normal or elevated pulmonary capillary occlusion pressure [>15 mm Hg], or right ventricular end-diastolic pressure [RVEDP] [>10 mm Hg]).

Characteristics of patients with cardiogenic shock include the following:

  • Patients in shock usually appear ashen or cyanotic and have cool skin and mottled extremities
  • Peripheral pulses are rapid and faint and may be irregular if arrhythmias are present
  • Jugular venous distention and crackles in the lungs are usually (but not always) present; peripheral edema also may be present.
  • Heart sounds are usually distant, and third and fourth heart sounds may be present
  • The pulse pressure may be low, and patients are usually tachycardic
  • Patients show signs of hypoperfusion, such as altered mental status and decreased urine output

A systolic murmur is generally heard in patients with acute mitral regurgitation or ventricular septal rupture. The associated parasternal thrill indicates the presence of a ventricular septal defect, whereas the murmur of mitral regurgitation may be limited to early systole. Approximately two thirds of patients will develop pulmonary congestion manifested as rales on pulmonary examination.

The systolic murmur, which becomes louder upon Valsalva and prompt standing, suggests hypertrophic obstructive cardiomyopathy (idiopathic hypertropic subaortic stenosis).

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Contributor Information and Disclosures
Author

Xiushui (Mike) Ren, MD Cardiologist, The Permanente Medical Group; Associate Director of Research, Cardiovascular Diseases Fellowship, California Pacific Medical Center

Xiushui (Mike) Ren, MD is a member of the following medical societies: Alpha Omega Alpha, American College of Cardiology, American Society of Echocardiography

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Coauthor(s)

Andrew Lenneman 

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Chief Editor

Henry H Ooi, MD, MRCPI Director, Advanced Heart Failure and Cardiac Transplant Program, Nashville Veterans Affairs Medical Center; Assistant Professor of Medicine, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Acknowledgements

Ethan S Brandler, MD, MPH Clinical Assistant Professor, Attending Physician, Departments of Emergency Medicine and Internal Medicine, University Hospital of Brooklyn, Kings County Hospital

Ethan S Brandler, MD, MPH is a member of the following medical societies: American College of Emergency Physicians and Society for Academic Emergency Medicine

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

David FM Brown, MD Associate Professor, Division of Emergency Medicine, Harvard Medical School; Vice Chair, Department of Emergency Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital

David FM Brown, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American College of Emergency Physicians and Society for Academic Emergency Medicine

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Daniel J Dire, MD, FACEP, FAAP, FAAEM Clinical Professor, Department of Emergency Medicine, University of Texas Medical School at Houston; Clinical Professor, Department of Pediatrics, University of Texas Health Sciences Center San Antonio

Daniel J Dire, MD, FACEP, FAAP, FAAEM is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Clinical Toxicology, American Academy of Emergency Medicine, American Academy of Pediatrics, American College of Emergency Physicians, and Association of Military Surgeons of the US

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Mark A Hostetler, MD, MPH Associate Professor of Pediatrics, University of Chicago; Chief, Section of Emergency Medicine, Department of Pediatrics, Medical Director of Pediatric Emergency Department, University of Chicago Children's Hospital

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

A Antoine Kazzi MD, Deputy Chief of Staff, American University of Beirut Medical Center; Associate Professor, Department of Emergency Medicine, American University of Beirut, Lebanon

A Antoine Kazzi is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Emergency Medicine

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Russell F Kelly MD, Assistant Professor, Department of Internal Medicine, Rush Medical College; Chairman of Adult Cardiology and Director of the Fellowship Program, Cook County Hospital

Russell F Kelly is a member of the following medical societies: American College of Cardiology

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Ronald J Oudiz, MD, FACP, FACC, FCCP Professor of Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles, David Geffen School of Medicine; Director, Liu Center for Pulmonary Hypertension, Division of Cardiology, LA Biomedical Research Institute at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center

Ronald J Oudiz, MD, FACP, FACC, FCCP is a member of the following medical societies: American College of Cardiology, American College of Chest Physicians, American College of Physicians, American Heart Association, and American Thoracic Society

Disclosure: Actelion Grant/research funds Clinical Trials + honoraria; Encysive Grant/research funds Clinical Trials + honoraria; Gilead Grant/research funds Clinical Trials + honoraria; Pfizer Grant/research funds Clinical Trials + honoraria; United Therapeutics Grant/research funds Clinical Trials + honoraria; Lilly Grant/research funds Clinical Trials + honoraria; LungRx Clinical Trials + honoraria; Bayer Grant/research funds Consulting

Sat Sharma, MD, FRCPC Professor and Head, Division of Pulmonary Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine, University of Manitoba; Site Director, Respiratory Medicine, St Boniface General Hospital

Sat Sharma, MD, FRCPC is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Sleep Medicine, American College of Chest Physicians, American College of Physicians-American Society of Internal Medicine, American Thoracic Society, Canadian Medical Association, Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, Royal Society of Medicine, Society of Critical Care Medicine, and World Medical Association

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Richard H Sinert, DO Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine, Clinical Assistant Professor of Medicine, Research Director, State University of New York College of Medicine; Consulting Staff, Department of Emergency Medicine, Kings County Hospital Center

Richard H Sinert, DO is a member of the following medical societies: American College of Physicians and Society for Academic Emergency Medicine

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Francisco Talavera, PharmD, PhD Adjunct Assistant Professor, University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Pharmacy; Editor-in-Chief, Medscape Drug Reference

Disclosure: Medscape Salary Employment

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Patient with an acute anterolateral myocardial infarction who developed cardiogenic shock. Coronary angiography images showed severe stenosis of the left anterior descending coronary artery, which was dilated by percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty.
A coronary angiogram image of a patient with cardiogenic shock demonstrates severe stenosis of the left anterior descending coronary artery.
A coronary angiogram image of a patient with cardiogenic shock demonstrates severe stenosis of the left anterior descending coronary artery. Following angioplasty of the critical stenosis, coronary flow is reestablished. The patient recovered from cardiogenic shock.
This ECG shows evidence of an extensive anterolateral myocardial infarction; this patient subsequently developed cardiogenic shock.
ECG tracing shows further evolutionary changes in a patient with cardiogenic shock.
ECG tracing in a patient who developed cardiogenic shock secondary to pericarditis and pericardial tamponade.
A 63-year-old man admitted to the emergency department with clinical features of cardiogenic shock. The ECG revealed findings indicative of wide-complex tachycardia, likely ventricular tachycardia. Following cardioversion, his shock state improved. The cause of ventricular tachycardia was myocardial ischemia.
Short-axis view of the left ventricle demonstrating small pericardial effusion, low ejection fraction, and segmental wall motion abnormalities. Courtesy of Michael Stone, MD, RDMS.
Pleural sliding in an intercostal space demonstrating increased lung comet artifacts suggestive of pulmonary edema. Courtesy of Michael Stone, MD, RDMS.
HeartMate II Left Ventricular Assist Device. Reprinted with the permission of Thoratec Corporation.
 
 
 
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