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Septic Shock Vs Cardiogenic Shock

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Autor: 24  •  April 12, 2011  •  979 Words (4 Pages)  •  1,217 Views

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Running head: SHOCK VS. SHOCK

Septic Shock Vs. Cardiogenic Shock

In APA Style

Michelle Webley

Rio Hondo College

Septic Shock Vs. Cardiogenic Shock

Septic shock is an extreme immune system response to an infection that has spread throughout the blood and tissues. Severe septic shock often causes extremely low blood pressure, which limits blood flow to the body and can result in organ failure and death.

Septic shock is most often the result of a bacterial infection, but it can also be caused by other types of infection. While septic shock can occur in people of any age, it is more common in infants, older adults, and people who have compromised immune systems. Respiratory failure, cardiac failure, or any other organ failure can occur.

Symptoms of Septic Shock

Symptoms of Septic shock include either fever, malaise, chills, and nausea. The first sign of shock is often confusion and decreased consciousness. In this beginning stage, the extremities are usually warm. Later, they become cool, pale, and bluish. Other symptoms include: shallow, rapid breathing, rapid heartbeat, delirium, palpitations, restlessness, agitation, lethargy, low blood pressure, especially when standing, reddish patches in the skin, lightheadedness, shortness of breath. Septic shock may progress to cause "adult respiratory distress syndrome," in which fluid collects in the lungs, and breathing becomes shallow and labored. This condition may lead to ventilatory collapse, in which the patient can no longer breathe adequately without assistance.

Cause of Septic Shock

Septic shock is seen most often in patients with suppressed immune systems, and is usually due to bacteria acquired during treatment at the hospital. The immune system is suppressed by drugs used to treat cancer, autoimmune disorders, organ transplants, and diseases of immune deficiency such as AIDS. Malnutrition, chronic drug abuse, and long-term illness increase the likelihood of succumbing to bacterial infection. Bacteremia is more likely with preexisting infections such as urinary or gastrointestinal tract infections, or skin ulcers, but can be introduced to the blood stream by surgical procedures, catheters, or intravenous equipment. Menstruating women using highly absorbent tampons are also at risk for Ð''toxic shock syndrome'. The incidence of toxic shock syndrome has declined markedly since this type of tampon was withdrawn from the market.


Diagnosis of septic shock is made by measuring blood pressure, heart rate, and respiration rate, as well as by a consideration of possible sources of infection. Blood pressure may be monitored with a catheter device inserted into the pulmonary artery supplying the lungs (Swan-Ganz catheter). Blood cultures are done to determine the type of bacteria responsible. The levels of oxygen, carbon dioxide, and acidity in the blood are also monitored to assess changes in respiratory function.

Signs and tests

Ð'* Blood gases revealing low oxygen concentration and acidosis

Ð'* Blood cultures or blood count detecting infection

Ð'* Low blood pressure

Ð'* Chest x-ray revealing pneumonia or pulmonary edema

Ð'* Blood tests detecting poor organ function or organ failure

Treatment of Septic Shock

Septic shock is a medical emergency, and patients are usually admitted to intensive care. Septic shock is treated with antibiotics, fluids, and medications to support blood pressure and prevent organ damage. The antibiotic is chosen based on the bacteria present, although two or more types of antibiotics may be used initially until the organism is identified. Intravenous fluids, either blood or protein solutions, replace the fluid lost


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