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Shock                               cardiogenic shock                              neurogenic shock                             anaphylactic shock                             septic shock                      Shock


Shock is a life-threatening condition, and should not be confused with the flood of adrenaline that accompanies dangerous or fearful situations. This reaction to danger or fear is called the ‘fight-or-flight’ reaction, and is often confused with, and referred to as, ‘shock’. This condition should be treated as top priority, second only to attending to safety, an obstructed airway, absence of breathing, cardiac arrest or severe life threatening bleeding.

Causes of shock
Loss of blood - Shock is most often caused due to loss of blood, which may occur at once or may be delayed. The blood loss could be either seen externally or internally within a particular system or organ. The greater the loss of blood, the greater the chance of developing shock. A slow, steady loss of blood can also produce shock.

Abdominal emergencies - Burst appendix, perforated intestine or stomach, intestinal obstruction, pancreatitis.

Loss of body fluids - May be due to extensive burns, dehydration, severe vomiting or diarrhoea.

Heart attack - Failure of the heart to function due to an obstructed blood supply to the heart itself can produce shock.

Sepsis or toxicity - Discharge of toxins produced by bacteria in the blood stream can produce shock.

Spinal injury - Due to the injury and the reaction of the nervous system.

Crush injuries - Injuries following explosions, building collapses etc.



A good indicator for shock is when a casualty displays two or more of the observations listed in the shocked patient column below.


Healthy Patient

Shocked Patient

Skin Condition

Pink, warm, dry

Pale, cold, wet

Conscious State

Alert and aware of time and place

Altered, confused, aggressive


Adult - 60 to 100 per minute

Child - 90 to 130 per minute

Infant - 120 to 160

Rapid (above upper limits)


Adult - 12 to 20 per minute

Child - 16 to 25 per minute

Infant - 20 to 30

Rapid (above upper limits)


Type and causes of shock:
1.hypovolemic shock
causes:blood or plasma loss
. hemorrhage
. burns
. loss of other fluids
. diarrhea
. vomiting
. sweating
2.cardiogenic shock
causes:heart disease (heart attack)
3.neurogenic shock
causes:spinal cord injury (vasodilatation)
4.anaphylactic shock
causes:allergic reaction to a foreign substance (vasodilatation)
5.septic shock
causes:severe, generalized infection, causing dilatation of blood
vessels and leakage of plasma through their walls.
First aid for hypovolemic shock:
promoting blood flow and oxygen transport:
a)elevating the legs.
b)applying anti-shock trousers.
c)administration of oxygen.



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