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What Are the Different Types of Treatment for Hypovolemic Shock?

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  • Written By: Madeleine A.
  • Edited By: Rachel Catherine Allen
  • Last Modified Date: 11 April 2014
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Treatment for hypovolemic shock includes maintaining body temperature to prevent hypothermia, and elevating the feet to facilitate circulation. Hypovolemic shock is a serious medical condition that can occur as a result of severe fluid and blood loss. This condition causes undue stress on the heart, rendering it ineffective to adequately pump blood throughout the body, which can result in multiple organ failure. It can be caused by internal bleeding, bleeding from injuries, excessive diarrhea and burns.

The symptoms of hypovolemic shock can include cold, clammy skin, decreased urinary output, anxiety and confusion. People also sometimes experience rapid breathing, pale skin, low blood pressure and a fast pulse. This condition is a medical emergency, and when symptoms occur, emergency medical treatment needs to be sought to prevent cardiac and respiratory arrest, as well as multiple organ failure. Treatment for hypovolemic shock at the hospital will include the replacement of fluids or blood through an intravenous line. The intravenous line may be initiated in the ambulance prior to arriving at the hospital or initiated in the emergency room upon arrival at the hospital.

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Another important treatment for hypovolemic shock includes the administration of medications such as epinephrine, dopamine and norepinephrine, which increase blood pressure and improves cardiac output. The health care provider will also need to monitor heart function with a catheter inside the heart and monitor urine production. If treatment for hypovolemic shock is not quickly instituted, complications such as brain damage, heart attack, gangrene and kidney damage can occur.

Elderly people and those with certain medical conditions are more prone to poor outcomes related to hypovolemic shock. Those with lesser degrees of hypovolemic shock are more likely to fare better than those with more extensive cases of hypovolemic shock. The prognosis might also depend upon the amount of blood that has been lost, the injury or illness that caused the blood loss, and the rate of fluid or blood loss.

When transporting the individual to the hospital when seeking treatment for hypovolemic shock, he should be carried flat with this feet elevated and head down. The head and neck should also be stabilized before moving the person, especially if a spinal injury or neck injury is suspected. If the patient is still conscious, he should never be allowed to consume fluids by mouth in an attempt to restore fluid or blood volume. This can cause the individual to aspirate, or inhale, fluids into his lungs, which may promote pneumonia or respiratory failure.

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