Cardiogenic shock

Cardiogenic shock is a condition in which your heart suddenly can't pump enough blood to meet your body's needs. The condition is most often caused by a severe heart attack.

Cardiogenic shock is rare, but it's often fatal if not treated immediately. If treated immediately, about half the people who develop the condition survive.

Symptoms Causes Risk factors Complications Prevention

Cardiogenic shock signs and symptoms include:

  • Rapid breathing
  • Severe shortness of breath
  • Sudden, rapid heartbeat (tachycardia)
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Weak pulse
  • Sweating
  • Pale skin
  • Cold hands or feet
  • Urinating less than normal or not at all

Symptoms of a heart attack

Because cardiogenic shock usually occurs in people who are having a severe heart attack, it's important to know the signs and symptoms of a heart attack. These include:

  • Pressure, fullness or a squeezing pain in the center of your chest that lasts for more than a few minutes
  • Pain extending beyond your chest to your shoulder, arm, back, or even to your teeth and jaw
  • Increasing episodes of chest pain
  • Prolonged pain in the upper abdomen
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sweating
  • Lightheadedness or sudden dizziness
  • Nausea and vomiting

If you seek medical attention quickly when having these signs or symptoms, you can decrease your risk of developing cardiogenic shock.

When to see a doctor

Getting heart attack treatment quickly improves your chance of survival and minimizes damage to your heart. If you're having symptoms of a heart attack, call 911 or other emergency medical services for help. If you don't have access to emergency medical services, have someone drive you to the nearest hospital. Don't drive yourself.

© 1998-2015 Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (MFMER). All rights reserved. Terms of use