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General Practice 2023

Hypovolêmic shock: what é, symptoms and treatment

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Hypovolêmic shock: what é, symptoms and treatment
Hypovolêmic shock: what é, symptoms and treatment

Hypovolemic shock is a serious situation that occurs when a large amount of fluid and blood is lost, which causes the heart to stop being able to pump the necessary blood throughout the body and, consequently, oxygen, taking to serious problems in various organs of the body and putting life at risk.

This type of shock is usually more frequent after very strong blows, such as traffic accidents or falls from a great height, but it can also happen during surgeries, for example. To treat this shock and avoid its serious consequences, it is necessary to go quickly to the hospital to start the blood transfusion or the administration of saline directly into the vein, in addition to treating the cause that is causing the blood loss.

Symptoms of hypovolemic shock

Signs and symptoms of hypovolemic shock are a consequence of excessive fluid loss, and may appear progressively, the main ones being:

  • Constant headache, which may get worse;
  • Excessive tiredness and dizziness;
  • Nausea and vomiting;
  • Very pale and cold skin;
  • Confusion;
  • Blue fingers and lips;
  • Feeling faint.

In many cases, hypovolemic shock can be easy to identify, especially if hemorrhage is visible, however, in cases of internal hemorrhage, these signs can be more difficult to detect. In any case, it is important that hypovolemic shock is identified quickly, so that treatment can be started soon after, so that complications can be prevented.

Possible causes

Hypovolemic shock usually occurs when there is bleeding that causes excessive blood loss, which can happen due to very deep wounds or cuts, traffic accidents, falls from a great height, internal bleeding, active ulcers and very heavy menstruation.

In addition, other situations that cause the body to lose fluids can also contribute to a decrease in the amount of blood in the body, such as prolonged diarrhea, very severe burns or excessive vomiting, for example.

This happens because due to the decrease in fluids and blood, there is a change in the distribution of oxygen to organs and tissues, resulting in cell death and, consequently, organ failure, in case it is not identified and treated. In addition, due to the decrease in oxygen supply, there is a greater production of lactate, which can be toxic to the body in large concentrations.

How the treatment is done

Treatment for hypovolemic shock should be guided by the doctor and is usually done through blood transfusion and administration of saline directly into the vein, as this way it is possible to replace the amount of lost fluid and prevent the situation from worsening.

Furthermore, it is important that the cause of the shock is identified, as it is possible that the treatment is more directed to the cause and the loss of more blood and fluid in general can be prevented.

Death from hypovolemic shock only occurs if the amount of blood and fluid lost corresponds to more than 1/5 of the total volume of the amount of blood in a human being, which is approximately 1 liter of blood.

First aid for hypovolemic shock

Hypovolemic shock is an emergency situation that must be treated as soon as possible. So, if there is suspicion, you should:

  1. Immediately call for medical help by calling 192;
  2. Lie down and elevate the feet about 30 cm, or enough so that they are above heart level;
  3. Keep the person warm, using blankets or clothing.

If there is a wound that is bleeding, it is important to try to stop the bleeding by using a clean cloth and applying pressure to the area to minimize blood loss and allow more time for the medical team to arrive.

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