Hypovolaemic shock

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There are lots of different causes of shock but if you are in doubt, the most common and therefore the one you should treat it as, is this one: hypovolaemic shock.


Shock due to reduction in the volume of circulating fluid. Generally, do something if the Systolic BP < 90 - that's never good.



If you only learn one thing before you become an F1 learn to manage shock. It's common and people die from it so if we had bothered to make an "Common And Important" .jpg, it would have been specifically for this condition.


Often, the cause of the shock is unknown and you just have to engage in some general management. Hypotension affects two bits: the sympathetic nervous system and renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system. The sympathetic nervous system causes vasoconstriction. Renin, released in the JGA of the kidney in hypotension, causes angiontensin-converting enzyme to convert angiontensin I to angiotensin II, a vasoconstrictor. This in turn causes aldosterone release in the adrenal glands, which causes salt and water retention.

Risk Factors

Clinical Features

Essentially, there are three bits to hypovolaemic shock which cause symptoms: tissue perfusion, increased sympathetic tone, metabolic acidosis.



If BP unrecordable, call cardiac arrest team.

  • ABC
    • Give high-flow 100% O2
  • Raise foot of bed - everybody always forgets this but it's quite important and can help
  • IV access x 2 - wide-bore cannulae
  • Treat cause
  • Infuse crystalloid fast (don't do this if you know it's cardiogenic shock

Then do all your investigations. Consider putting in arterial and central line and record urinary output with a bladder catheter. Replace fluids guided by BP, CVP and urine output and consider inotropic support in hypotension.