Management of refractory cardiogenic shock

Alex Reyentovich, Maya H. Barghash, Judith S. Hochman

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

112 Scopus citations


Cardiogenic shock is a life-threatening condition that occurs in response to reduced cardiac output in the presence of adequate intravascular volume and results in tissue hypoxia. Cardiogenic shock has several underlying aetiologies, with the most common being acute myocardial infarction (AMI). Refractory cardiogenic shock presents as persistent tissue hypoperfusion despite administration of adequate doses of two vasoactive medications and treatment of the underlying aetiology. Investigators of the SHOCK trial reported a long-term mortality benefit of emergency revascularization for shock complicating AMI. Since the publication of the SHOCK trial and subsequent guideline recommendations, the increase in community-based use of percutaneous coronary intervention for this condition has resulted in a significant decline in mortality. Despite these successes in the past 15 years, mortality still remains exceptionally high, particularly in patients with refractory cardiogenic shock. In this Review, we discuss the aetiology and pathophysiology of cardiogenic shock and summarize the data on the available therapeutics and their limitations. Although new mechanical circulatory support devices have been shown to improve haemodynamic variables in patients with shock complicating AMI, they did not improve clinical outcomes and are associated with high costs and complications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)481-492
Number of pages12
JournalNature Reviews Cardiology
Issue number8
StatePublished - 14 Jul 2016
Externally publishedYes


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