What are the classes of circulatory shock?

Updated: Oct 07, 2020
  • Author: Andre Kalil, MD, MPH; Chief Editor: Michael R Pinsky, MD, CM, Dr(HC), FCCP, FAPS, MCCM  more...
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Answer

Shock is identified in most patients by hypotension and inadequate organ perfusion, which may be caused by either low cardiac output or low systemic vascular resistance. Circulatory shock can be subdivided into four distinct classes on the basis of underlying mechanism and characteristic hemodynamics, as follows:

  • Hypovolemic shock

  • Obstructive shock

  • Distributive shock

  • Cardiogenic shock

These classes of shock should be considered and systematically differentiated before a definitive diagnosis of septic shock is established.


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