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Cardiogenic Shock

Cardiogenic shock occurs when the heart cannot pump enough blood to meet the body’s needs. It typically happens after a sudden cardiac event such as a heart attack or decline in cardiac function (such as acute or worsening heart failure). When cardiogenic shock occurs, blood pressure becomes very low, signifying the heart’s inability to adequately pump blood in order to provide much-needed oxygen to vital organs. Cardiogenic shock can quickly progress to multi-organ failure and death.

Not every heart attack results in cardiogenic shock but, for those instances when it occurs, emergency treatment to improve the flow of blood and oxygen is essential.

There are various stages of cardiogenic shock. Each stage requires selective and tailored treatments to improve blood flow and oxygen throughout the body. The Inova Heart and Vascular Institute’s Cardiogenic Shock Program is a national leader in providing standardized and team-based care to deliver the best possible outcomes, including utilizing the most advanced therapies with all types of temporary mechanical support devices.

Cardiogenic Shock Survival

About one in 10 people who experience a heart attack develop cardiogenic shock, which is associated with a mortality rate exceeding 50 percent in the United States. It is the most common reason for in-hospital mortality following a heart attack. 

Survival rates at Inova are consistently better than the national average thanks to our innovative multispecialty Shock Team. When the Shock Team began in January 2017, our cardiogenic shock patients’ survival to 30 days post-discharge was 47 percent. Those rates swiftly increased to 58 percent by the end of 2017, and have remained well above national percentages since. (See diagram below for 2020 outcomes).

Implementing a dedicated, fast-acting team has improved outcomes and saved lives. Read more about our team below.

Cardiogenic Shock Patient Survival: January - December 2021

Multi-Specialty Team Cardiogenic Shock Team

Our dedicated Shock Team provides timely decision-making and intervention critical to patient survival. A single phone call connects specialists from interventional cardiology, cardiovascular surgery, advanced heart failure, critical care, and emergency medicine to quickly gather information and recommend the best treatment for these critically ill patients. This team-based approach has dramatically improved patient survival.

The team focuses on: 

  • Rapid diagnosis
  • Immediate, collaborative decision-making
  • Early hemodynamic assessment and expedited initiation of mechanical circulatory support such as ECMO, Impella heart pump, etc.
  • Minimizing vasopressor and inotrope use

The best way to prevent cardiogenic shock is to lower your risk for coronary heart disease (CHD) and heart attack. If you have heart disease, it is vital to get on-going treatment from a cardiologist.

See a list of IHVI-affiliated cardiologists