What are the causes and signs of distributive 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

Distributive shock is caused by excessive vasodilation and impaired distribution of blood flow (eg, direct arteriovenous shunting), and it is characterized by decreased resistance or increased venous capacity from the vasomotor dysfunction. Patients with this type of shock have high cardiac output, hypotension, a large pulse pressure, a low diastolic pressure, and warm extremities with good capillary refill. These findings on physical examination strongly suggest a working diagnosis of septic shock.


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