Cardiogenic shock


Cardiogenic shock is a life-threatening condition where the heart suddenly becomes incapable of supplying enough blood to the body. While a significant heart attack is the primary cause of this condition, it’s important to note that not all heart attacks lead to cardiogenic shock.

Although relatively rare, cardiogenic shock can have dire consequences if immediate treatment is not administered. Immediate intervention significantly improves the chances of survival, with approximately half of those affected surviving when treated promptly.

Stages of cardiogenic shock

  • At risk (A): Heart illness, including heart attacks and heart failure, but no signs of shock.
  • Beginning (B): Decreased heart rate or blood pressure.
  • Classic (C): Need for drugs or tools to aid in getting blood to organs.
  • Deteriorating (D): The medical treatments and devices prescribed so far have shown no response, and the condition appears to be deteriorating.
  • Extremis (E): Cardiac arrest requiring CPR, defibrillator, and ventilator.


Signs and symptoms of cardiogenic shock include:

  • Severe difficulty breathing
  • Rapid breathing
  • Fainting
  • Thready pulse
  • Tachycardia or abrupt, increased heartbeat
  • Hypotension or low blood pressure
  • Sweating
  • The skin appears pale
  • The hands and feet feels cold
  • Urinating less than normal

Signs and symptoms of a heart attack

Knowing the warning signs and symptoms of a heart attack is crucial since cardiogenic shock typically affects patients who are experiencing a serious heart attack. These consist of:

  • A persistent sensation of pressure, fullness, or squeezing pain in the center of your chest, lasting for longer than a few minutes.
  • The pain radiates to your shoulder, either one or both arms, your back, and may even extend to your teeth and jaw.
  • An increase in chest pain episodes
  • Difficulty of breathing
  • Sweating
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

If you encounter any of these symptoms, it is vital to seek immediate medical assistance to reduce the risk of developing cardiogenic shock. Seeking prompt treatment for a heart attack significantly improves your chances of survival and minimizes potential damage to the heart. Have someone transport you to the closest hospital if you don’t have access to emergency medical care. Avoid driving by yourself.


In most cases, your heart’s main pumping chamber (left ventricle) suffers damage from a lack of oxygen, typically brought on by a heart attack. The heart muscle can deteriorate and enter cardiogenic shock if oxygen-rich blood isn’t flowing to that region of the heart.

Cardiogenic shock is a rare result of injury to the right ventricle of the heart, which pumps blood to the lungs for oxygenation.
The following are some potential causes of cardiogenic shock:

  • Myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart muscle
  • Endocarditis, a heart valve infection
  • Weakened heart due to any factor
  • Poisoning from drugs or other chemicals that can impair your heart’s capacity to pump

Risk factors

Your chance of getting cardiogenic shock after a heart attack rises if:

  • You are old
  • You have had a heart attack or heart failure in the past.
  • You have blockages in several of the heart’s major arteries(coronary artery disease)
  • You suffer from high blood pressure or diabetes
  • Being female