Man with his hand on his chest

Cardiogenic shock

What is cardiogenic shock?

Cardiogenic shock is a life-threatening medical emergency where the heart is suddenly unable to pump enough blood to the body. This can cause the organs to fail and can be deadly if not treated promptly.

Cardiogenic shock is most commonly caused by a severe heart attack but can also occur due to other causes.

What are the symptoms of cardiogenic shock?

Symptoms and signs of cardiogenic shock may include:

What causes cardiogenic shock?

The most common cause of cardiogenic shock is damage to the heart’s main pumping chamber, the left ventricle. This damage is most often caused by a heart attack.

However in rare cases the heart’s right chamber, the right ventricle, is damaged. The right ventricle is responsible for transporting blood to the lungs to get oxygen before being sent to the rest of the body. When the right ventricle is damaged, this can also cause cardiogenic shock.

Other conditions that may weaken the heart and cause cardiogenic shock include:

How is cardiogenic shock diagnosed?

Diagnosis of cardiogenic shock may include:

How is cardiogenic shock treated?

Cardiogenic shock is a medical emergency that requires immediate treatment. This will likely include:

Further treatment will depend on the cause of the cardiogenic shock. Potential treatments may include:

How can cardiogenic shock be prevented?

As a heart attack can cause cardiogenic shock, it is advised to seek treatment as soon as possible if a heart attack is suspected.

Reducing the risk of heart disease can also lower your risk of cardiogenic shock. This may include:

Acknowledgement of Country

The Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute acknowledges Traditional Owners of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures; and to Elders past and present.

Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute - The Home of Heart Research for 30 Years