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SHOCK Right: “The Harem Pool”, oil on canvas, c.1874, Jean-Leon Gerome, Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg, Russian Federation. I went to the Bagnio about 10 o’clock. It was already full of Women. It is built of stone in the shape of a Dome with no Windows, but in the Roofe, which gives

Shock - developinganaesthesia€¦  · Web viewImpaired cardiac filling: ♥ Cardiac tamponade. ♥ Massive pulmonary embolism, (impaired filling of the left ventricle) ♥ Tension

Aug 12, 2020



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Right: “The Harem Pool”, oil on canvas, c.1874, Jean-Leon Gerome, Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg, Russian Federation.

I went to the Bagnio about 10 o’clock. It was already full of Women. It is built of stone in the shape of a Dome with no Windows, but in the Roofe, which gives Light enough. There was 5 of these Domes joyn’d together, the outmost being less than the rest and serving only as a hall where the portress stood at the door. Ladys of Quality gennerally give this Woman the value of a crown or 10 shillings, and I did not forget that ceremony. The next room is a very large one, pav’d with Marble, and all round it rais’d 2 Sofas of marble, one above another. There were 4 fountains of cold Water in this room, falling first into marble Basins and then running on the floor in little channels made for that purpose, which carry’d the streams into the next room, something less than this, with the same sort of marble sofas, but so hot with steams of sulphur proceeding from the baths joyning to it, twas impossible to stay there with one’s Clothes on. The 2 other domes were the hot baths, one of which had cocks of cold Water turning into it to temper it to what degree of warmth the bathers have a mind to.

I was in my travelling Habit, which is a riding dress, and certainly appear’d very extraordinary to them, yet there was not one of ‘em that shew’d the least surprize or impertinent Curiosity, but receiv’d me with all the obliging civility possible. I know no European Court where the Ladys would have behav’d them selves in so polite a manner to a stranger.

I believe in the whole there were 200 Women and yet none of those disdainfull smiles or satyric whispers that never fail in our assemblys when anybody appears that is not dress’d exactly in fashion. They repeated over and over to me, Uzelle, pek uzelle, which is nothing but, Charming, very charming. The first sofas were cover’d with Cushions and rich Carpets, on which sat the Ladys, on the 2nd their slaves behind ’em, but without any distinction of rank by their dress, all being in the state of nature, that is, in plain English, stark naked, without any Beauty or deffecct conceal’d, yet there was not the least wanton smile or immodest Gesture amoungst ’em. They Walk’d and mov’d with the same majestic Grace which Milton describes of our General Mother. There were many amounst them as exactly proportion’d as ever any Goddess was drawn by the pencil of Guido or Titian, and most of their skins shineingly white, only adorn’d by their Beautiful Hair divided into many tresses hanging on their shoulders, braided either with pearl or riband, perfectly representing the figures of the Graces. I was here convinc’d of the Truth of a Reflexion that I have often made, that if twas the fashion to go naked, the face would be hardly observ’d. I perceiv’d that the Ladys with the finest skins and most delicate shapes had the greatest share of my admiration, tho their faces were sometimes less beautiful than those of their companions. To tell you the truth, I had wickedness enough to wish secretly that Mr Gervase could have been there invisible. I fancy it would have very much improv’d his art to see so many fine Women naked in different postures, some in conversation, some working, others drinking Coffee or sherbert, and many negligently lying on their Cushions while their slaves (generally pritty Girls of 17 or 18) were employ’d in braiding their hair in several pritty manners. In short, tis the Women’s coffee house, where all the news of the Town is told, Scandal invented, etc. They generally take this Diversion once a week, and stay there at least 4 or 5 hours without getting cold by immediate coming out of the hot bath into the cool room, which was very surprizing to me. I was at last forc’d to open my skirt and shew ’em my stays, which satify’d ’em very well, for I saw they believ’d that I was so lock’d up in that machine that it was not in my own power to open it, which contrivance they attributed to my Husband.

Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, wife of the English Ambassador to Turkey,

Adrianople, 1 April 1717.

In April of 1717, the wife of the British Ambassador, and social commentator, Lady Mary Wortley Montagu paid a visit to the women’s Baths at Adrianople. Lady Montagu is now best remembered for her letters from Turkey, which provide a priceless historical window into the Ottoman Empire of the early Eighteenth century. As an aristocrat of the highest caliber of the courts of Europe she received quite a shock by what she saw at the Baths! Shock however is a relative term, influenced greatly by the social norms dictated by times and cultures. The Turkish women although immaculately polite – a curtsey that would not have been reciprocated in the courts of Europe - towards the curious English lady, were quite shocked themselves to find her so oddly dressed for her visit to the Baths. Eventually they coerced to undress, and as she did so they were astonished to see the intricate layers of hoops, garters and stays that she appeared to be trapped in. Once over their own initial shock they merely assumed that Lady Montagu’s husband had ordered an elaborate “contrivance” to ensure the “virtue” of his wife. To Lady Montague’s eternal relief they decided that further attempts to get her undressed were simply not worth the effort!

In the 21st Century the term “shock” has very different connotations according to the context within which the word is used. The connotation by the public is an intense emotional reaction to a stressful situation – like the one in which Lady Montague found herself in the Baths of Adrianople. In the medical field however the term shock has quite a different meaning – a state of circulatory collapse. One suspects that had not Lady Montague managed to make a diplomatic retreat from the heat of the Baths, dressed as she was, she would have also learnt the medical meaning of the term “shock”!



A “shocked” condition refers to a state of circulatory collapse as evidenced by hypotension with impaired tissue oxygenation and organ dysfunction.

There are six main forms of shock, all of which are immediately life threatening.

They include:






6.Addisonian, (i.e. acute adrenal failure).

Management involves immediate resuscitation together with treatment of the underlying cause.

See also separate specific guidelines for each of these types of shock.


The six types of shock are:


The causes of hypovolemic shock can be thought of as those due to fluid (or plasma) loss, which may be external or internal, or those due to blood loss, which may also be external or internal.



●GIT, Urinary, Skin


●Pancreatitis, pseudocysts, ileus, peritonitis.

Blood (hemorrhage):


●Blood loss that can be observed from external wounds.


●Blood loss that is concealed. This may be within the:




♥Bony fractures


♥Urinary tract.


●This may include “classic” IgE mediated anaphylaxis, but also the less severe histamine induced “anaphyalctoid” reactions that are not directly immunologically mediated.


●Direct myocardial depression.

This may be due to:






♥Toxins/ Venoms

♥Traumatic contusion.

Some strict definitions suggest that cardiogenic shock is only that which directly affects myocardial contractility. This is a point of semantics. Other equally important conditions that may induce a state of shock of cardiac origin must also be considered and include:

●Impaired cardiac filling:

♥Cardiac tamponade.

♥Massive pulmonary embolism, (impaired filling of the left ventricle)

♥Tension pneumothorax.


♥In particular, VT and complete heart block.

●Severe valvular lesions.


The following definitions were formulated at the consensus conference of the American College of Chest Physicians and Society of Critical Care Medicine in 1992:

Infection:Inflammatory response due to the presence of microorganisms.

Bacteremia:The presence of viable bacteria in the blood (usually confirmed by positive culture)

Sepsis:Suspected or proven infection plus the systemic inflammatory response to infection.

Severe Sepsis:The systemic inflammatory response to infection, including organ dysfunction.

Organ dysfunction may include: hypotension, hypoxemia, oliguria, metabolic acidosis, thrombocytopenia or altered conscious state.

Septic Shock:The systemic inflammatory response to infection resulting in organ dysfunction including hypotension, despite adequate fluid resuscitation.


●Spinal cord lesions above the level of T4, affecting the cardiac sympathetic nerves

●Drugs and toxins.


This is really a combination of hypovolemic and neurogenic shock.

●Volume loss due to sodium and water losses.

●Glucocorticoid loss leading to reduced effectiveness of catecholamines.

Clinical Assessment


The typical features of hypovolemic shock include:



●Reduced peripheral perfusion, (cool, pallor, diaphoretic, reduced capillary return, peripheral cyanosis).

●Reduced urine output

●Reduced CVP

The severity of hemorrhagic shock is commonly graded as class I to IV, (see also Hemorrhagic Shock Guidelines). 2


This is a clinical diagnosis.

The current ASCIA (Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy) definition of anaphylaxis is as follows:

●Anaphylaxis is a rapidly evolving generalized multi-system allergic reaction characterized by one or more symptoms or signs of respiratory and/or cardiovascular involvement and involvement of other systems such as the skin and/or the gastrointestinal tract.


Cardiogenic shock is an acute impairment of myocardial contractility presenting as a clinical syndrome of: 1

A low systolic blood pressure:

●< 90 mmHg, or a value of greater than 30 mmHg below normal levels in a hypertensive patient

●For a period of at least 30 minutes

Together with:

●Clinical evidence of decreased tissue perfusion, (such as peripheral vasoconstriction, altered conscious state and urine output below 20 mls / hr)


Here there is the systemic inflammatory response to infection resulting in organ dysfunction including hypotension, despite adequate fluid resuscitation.

Clinical evidence of a “systemic inflammatory response” has been defined as 2 or more of the following:

●Tachypnoea, (RR > 20 / min), or a PaCO2 < 32 mmHg, or a minute ventilation value of > 10 L / min, where the patient is intubated and spontaneously breathing.

●Tachycardia, (> 90 beats per minute)

●A core body temperature of > 38 0 C or < 36 0 C.

●A WCC of > 12,000 cells / micro L or < 4000 cells / micro L

Organ dysfunction may include: hypotension, hypoxemia, oliguria, metabolic acidosis, thrombocytopenia or altered conscious state.


In the setting of trauma spinal cord lesions above the level of T4, affecting the cardiac sympathetic nerves, can result in neurogenic shock.

Typically there will be:




●This diagnosis is a difficult one to make, as the condition is uncommon and so not often considered.

●A clue to the diagnosis includes the pattern of the electrolyte disturbances, hyponatremia together with hyperkalemia,(see also Addison’s Guidelines)

Shock of uncertain origin

Usually the cause of a shocked state is readily apparent in the clinical setting that the patient presents, or following history, examination and initial investigations.

On occasions, the cause of hypotension is unclear. A systematic approach will then be required, with careful consideration and exclusion of each of the main types of shock until a diagnosis is achieved.

The following general principles should be kept in mind:

Common things occur commonly!

The commonest causes of shock are:




The moderately common causes are:

●Anaphylaxis, (IgE mediated)

●Anaphyalctoid reactions, (directly induced by histamine)

The uncommon causes are:

●Neurogenic shock due to spinal trauma

●Acute adrenal failure.

Drug effects

The possibility of drug toxicity or overdose must always be kept in mind.


Blood loss and plasma loss must always be excluded in the first instance.

Diagnosis can be problematic when these losses are concealed, (i.e. internal)

Classically there is tachycardia with hypotension; however this is true in most types of shock, (apart from neurogenic shock due to spinal trauma)

Blood loss:

●Trauma (acute or recent, which may not be volunteered by a patient!)

In trauma always keep in mind the 6 regions of possible concealed blood loss:




♥Bony fractures


♥Urinary tract.

●An unexpectedly low Hb may be the first clue to blood loss, (be it traumatic or non-traumatic)

●For non-traumatic blood loss GIT bleeds need to be considered (is there melena for example) or retroperitoneal bleeds (is the patient on warfarin?), has there been significant haematuria (though this would be a very uncommon cause of a presentation of hypovolemic shock)

Plasma loss:

●Recent history of vomiting and/ or diarrhoea, and/ or a greatly reduced oral intake.

●The patient may show clear signs of dehydration.

●Hot environment, (as part of heatstroke).


The most typical scenario is the patient with chest pain, ST segment changes on ECG and refractory hypotension. Diagnosis is straight forward in these cases.

Arrhythmias and tension pneumothorax can be readily excluded.

ST segment changes can give a clue to the cardiac origin of shock when they are significantly elevated or depressed; however these changes not uncommonly may be minor or completely non-existent.

Additional clues to a cardiac origin of shock in these cases may include:

●Chest pain, (again however somewhat non-specific)

●A significantly elevated troponin level

●An elevated CVP

With any of the above three findings, diagnosis should then be confirmed by an echocardiogram.

This may show:

●Depression of myocardial contractility

●Right ventricular strain, (suggestive of pulmonary hypertension)

●Valvular lesions


The four features of the systemic inflammatory response listed above are unfortunately not specific to septic shock

Fever is not always present.

Once blood loss, plasma loss and cardiogenic causes have been ruled out septic shock may be implied.

A source of sepsis maybe apparent, but initially it may not be. The clinical setting will also be important when a focus is not apparent.

When a focus is not apparent then the question must be asked if the patient has significant risk factors for sepsis, such as immunosuppression of any cause, IV drug use etc, (see also PUO in Adults guidelines).


This diagnosis is usually clear on clinical grounds, with a close temporal relationship with a known allergenic agent.


Acute adrenal failure is a difficult diagnosis to make, as the condition is uncommon and needs to be specifically thought of.

Clues include:

●Typical electrolyte abnormalities

♥Hyponatremia and hyperkalemia.

●Recent cessation or reduction in long term steroid use.


This is uncommon and occurs (asides from drug induced causes) specifically in setting of spinal trauma above the level of T4.


The nature and extent of investigation of the shocked patient will be directed toward the type of shock that is suspected as well as how unwell the patient is.

In some situations the clinical situation will be clear, however in others it may not be so and the net of investigation will necessarily need to be thrown more widely.

When considering investigations in cases where the cause is unclear, it is useful to think in terms of the type of shock one is trying to rule out.

In general terms the following investigations may be considered:

Blood tests


●WCC may be depressed or elevated, indicating infection, but these are non-specific results. WCC may be elevated as a stress reaction.


●Significantly elevated levels suggest sepsis.

3.U&Es/ glucose

●Reduced sodium together with elevated potassium may indicate acute adrenal insufficiency.

4.Troponin I:

●A sensitive and specific indicator of myocardial damage.

●The higher this level, the more likely the cause will be cardiogenic shock.



●Severe pancreatitis can result in significant plasma loss, as well as septic shock


●The higher this value is, the more likely will be cardiac disease.

8.Blood cultures:

●In cases of suspected septic shock.


●Cannot help diagnose which particular type of shock is present, but can give an indication of how unwell a patient

10.Short synacthen testing:

●Not an ED investigation, but useful for an initial screen when adrenal insufficiency is suspected.


Look for:


●Ischemic changes

●Conduction abnormalities


The bedside “FAST” scan technique is an extremely useful screen for:

●The detection of free abdominal fluid

●The detection of pericardial fluid, (suggesting the possibility of cardiac tamponade)

●The detection of abdominal aortic aneurysms, (although the detection of blood loss from a ruptured one is more problematic)


●For microscopy and culture

Plain radiography


According to clinical suspicion, useful for:



●Cardiomegaly, possibly indicating effusion and tamponade.


●Dilated bowel loops and fluid levels, suggesting fluid loss from mechanical obstruction or ileus.

Trauma series

In cases of multi-trauma for:

●Bony injury, particularly relevant for hypovolemia are pelvic and femur fractures.



Bedside echocardiography is the best test when cardiogenic shock is present or suspected.

It can provide information on:

●Myocardial contractility.

●Pericardial effusion and tamponade

●Valvular lesions, including valvular vegetations.

It can also detect significantly increased right ventricular pressures, which may be an indirect measure of massive pulmonary embolism.

CT scanning

With respect to a shocked patient CT scanning will be required in cases of:

●Trauma: chest, abdomen, retroperitoneum and complex pelvic fractures are important regions to visualize for internal blood loss.

●Massive pulmonary embolism.

●Intra-abdominal sepsis or mesenteric ischaemia or severe necrotizing pancreatitis.

●Ruptured AAA.


Initial resuscitation


Irrespective of the cause of a patient’s shocked state, the immediate priority will be the usual attention to ABC issues, including:

●Airway and breathing management:

(BLS/ACLS/ intubation and ventilation may be required in the arrested/ pre-arrested patient.


●IV access.

●Fluid resuscitation, as required.

(This will provide benefit in all types of shock, but to varying extents. For cardiogenic types the benefit is limited and temporizing only.

2.Establish monitoring:

The extent of monitoring will be determined by how unwell a patient is as well as the particular type of shock that is being considered.

●ECG monitoring

●Pulse oximetry

●Arterial line



3.12 lead ECG

4.Inotropic agents:

●These are usually commenced when fluid loading has failed and hypovolemia (from blood or plasma loss) has been excluded or considered unlikely.

5.Empirical steroids:

●These have not been shown to be of benefit in cases of shock other than Addisonian.

●If acute adrenal failure is thought possible then they should be given empirically.

●Dexamethasone is preferred in preference to hydrocortisone in undiagnosed cases, it this will not interfere with any subsequent synacthen testing.

Specific measures

Following initial resuscitation specific measures are then directed at the underlying cause, (see separate guidelines for each condition)

Left: “The Bath”, oil on canvas, c. 1890, John Reinhard Weguelin Right: “A Favourite Custom”, oil on canvas, 1909, Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema, Tate Gallery, London.


1.Cardiogenic Shock NEJM, June 16 1994, p.1724.

2.ATLS Manual 8th ed 2008.

3.Brown S.G et al. Anaphylaxis: diagnosis and management. MJA 2006; 185: 283-289.

Dr J. Hayes

Reviewed 4 September 2010