6. The varied mechanisms leading to the initial
vasodilation in circulatory shock further subdivide this
classification of shock into three types:
(1) septic shock,
(2) neurogenic shock, and
(3) anaphylactic shock.
7. In all types of circulatory shock, massive arterial and
venous dilation allows blood to pool peripherally.
Arterial dilation reduces systemic vascular resistance.
9. Septic shock is the most common type of
circulatory shock and is caused by
12. The greatest risk of sepsis occurs in patients with
bacteremia (bloodstream) and pneumonia .
13. Other infections that may progress to septic
bacteremia associated with intravascular
and indwelling urinary catheters.
15. The increased incidence of invasive
procedures and indwelling medical devices;
The increased number of resistant
microorganisms; and the increasingly older
16. The incidence of septic shock can be reduced by
débriding wounds to remove necrotic tissue and carrying
out infection control practices, including the use of
meticulous aseptic technique,
properly cleaning and maintaining equipment, and
using thorough hand-hygiene techniques.
17. The most common causative microorganisms of septic shock
are the gram-negative bacteria; however, there is also an
increased incidence of gram-positive bacterial infections.
Other infectious agents such as viruses and funguses also can
cause septic shock.
When a microorganism invades body tissues, the patient
exhibits an immune response.
18. This immune response provokes the activation of
biochemical mediators associated with an
inflammatory response and produces a variety of
effects leading to shock.
19. Increased capillary permeability, which leads to
fluid seeping from the capillaries, and vasodilation
are two such effects
that interrupt the ability of the body to provide
and nutrients to the tissues and cells.
20. Septic shock typically occurs in two phases. The first phase,
referred to as the ------------
is characterized by a high cardiac output with systemic
21. The blood pressure may remain within normal
The heart rate increases,
progressing to tachycardia.
The patient becomes hyperthermic and febrile,
with warm, flushed skin and bounding pulses.
22. The respiratory rate is elevated. Urinary output
may remain at normal levels or decrease.
Gastrointestinal status may be compromised as
evidenced by nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or
decreased bowel sounds.
23. The patient may exhibit
changes in mental status, such as confusion
24. The later phase, referred to as the hypodynamic,
irreversible phase, is characterized by low cardiac
output with vasoconstriction,
reflecting the body’s effort to compensate for the
hypovolemia caused by the loss of intravascular
volume through the capillaries.
25. In this phase, the blood pressure drops and the skin is
cool and pale.
Temperature may be normal or below normal.
Heart and respiratory rates remain rapid.
The patient no longer produces urine,and multiple organ
dysfunction progressing to failure develops.
26. Systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS)
presents clinically like sepsis.
The only difference between SIRS and sepsis is that
there is no identifiable source of infection.
27. SIRS stimulates an overwhelming inflammatory
immunologic and hormonal response, similar to that
seen in septic patients.
Despite an absence of infection, antibiotic agents may
still be administered because of the possibility of
28. Current treatment of septic shock involves identifying
and eliminating the cause of infection.
Specimens of blood, sputum, urine, wound drainage, and
invasive catheter tips are collected for culture using
29. Any potential routes of infection must be eliminated.
Intravenous lines are removed and reinserted at other
Antibiotic-coated intravenous central lines may be
placed to decrease the risk of invasive line-related
bacteremia in high-risk patients, such as the elderly.
30. Any abscesses are drained and necrotic areas débrided.
Fluid replacement must be instituted to correct the
hypovolemia that results from the incompetent
vasculature and inflammatory response.
Crystalloids, colloids, and blood products may be
administered to increase the intravascular volume.
31. If the infecting organism is unknown, broad-spectrum
antibiotic agents are started until culture and sensitivity
reports are received.
A third-generation cephalosporin plus an
aminoglycoside may be prescribed initially.
32. Nutritional supplementation is critical in the management of
septic shock because malnutrition further impairs the
patient’s resistance to infection.
Nutritional supplementation should be initiated within the
first 24 hours of the onset of shock .
33. Enteral feedings are preferred to the parenteral route
because of the increased risk of iatrogenic infection
associated with intravenous catheters; however,
enteral feedings may not be possible if decreased
perfusion to the gastrointestinal tract reduces peristalsis
and impairs absorption.
34. The nurse caring for any patient in any setting
must keep in mind the risks of sepsis and the high
mortality rate associated with septic shock.
35. All invasive procedures must be carried out with aseptic
technique after careful hand hygiene.
Additionally, intravenous lines, arterial and venous
puncture sites, surgical incisions, traumatic wounds,
urinary catheters, and pressure ulcers are monitored for
signs of infection in all patients.
36. The nurse identifies patients at particular risk for sepsis and
(ie, elderly and immunosuppressed patients or patients with
extensive trauma or burns or diabetes), keeping in mind that
these high-risk patients may not develop typical or classic signs
of infection and sepsis.
Confusion, for example, may be the first sign of infection and
sepsis in elderly patients.
37. When caring for the patient with septic shock, the nurse
collaborates with other members of the health care team
to identify the site and source of sepsis and the specific
Appropriate specimens for culture and sensitivity are
often obtained by the nurse.
38. Elevated body temperature (hyperthermia) is common
with sepsis and raises the patient’s metabolic rate and
Fever is one of the body’s natural mechanisms for
fighting infections. Thus, an elevated temperature may
not be treated unless it reaches dangerous levels (more
than 40°C [104°F]) or unless the patient is
39. Efforts may be made to reduce the temperature by administering
acetaminophen or applying hypothermia blankets.
During these therapies, the nurse monitors the patient closely for
shivering, which increases oxygen consumption.
Efforts to increase comfort are important if the patient experiences
fever, chills, or shivering.
40. The nurse administers prescribed intravenous fluids and medications,
including antibiotic agents and vasoactive medications to restore
vascular volume. Because of decreased perfusion to the kidneys and
liver, serum concentrations of antibiotic agents that are normally
cleared by these organs may increase and produce toxic effects.
Therefore, the nurse monitors blood levels (antibiotic agent, BUN,
creatinine, white blood count) and reports increased levels to the
41. As with other types of shock, the nurse monitors the patient’s
hemodynamic status, fluid intake and output, and nutritional status.
Daily weights and close monitoring of serum albumin levels help
determine the patient’s protein requirements.
43. In neurogenic shock, vasodilation occurs as a result of a loss of
This can be caused by spinal cord injury, spinal anesthesia, or
nervous system damage.
45. Neurogenic shock may have a prolonged course (spinal cord injury)
or a short one (syncope or fainting).
It is characterized by dry, warm skin rather than the cool, moist skin
seen in hypovolemic shock.
Another characteristic is bradycardia, rather than the tachycardia that
characterizes other forms of shock.
46. Treatment of neurogenic shock involves restoring sympathetic
tone either through the stabilization of a spinal cord injury or, in the
instance of spinal anesthesia, by positioning the patient properly.
47. Specific treatment of neurogenic shock depends on its cause.
If hypoglycemia (insulin shock) is the cause, glucose is rapidly
48. It is important to elevate and maintain the head of the bed at least 30
degrees to prevent neurogenic shock when a patient is receiving spinal
or epidural anesthesia.
Elevation of the head of the bed helps to prevent the spread of the
anesthetic agent up the spinal cord.
In suspected spinal cord injury, neurogenic shock may be prevented
by carefully immobilizing the patient to prevent further damage to the
49. Nursing interventions are directed toward supporting cardiovascular and
neurologic function until the usually transient episode of neurogenic shock
Applying elastic compression stockings and elevating the foot of the bed
may minimize pooling of blood in the legs. Pooled blood increases the risk
for thrombus formation.
Therefore, the nurse needs to check the patient daily for any redness,
tenderness, warmth of the calves, and positive Homans’ sign (calf pain on
dorsiflexion of the foot).
50. To elicit Homans’ sign, the nurse lifts the patient’s leg, flexing it at the
knee and dorsiflexing the foot.
If the patient complains of pain in the calf, the sign is positive and
suggestive of deep vein thrombosis.
Administering heparin or low-molecular-weight heparin (Lovenox) as
prescribed, applying elastic compression stockings, or initiating
pneumatic compression of the legs may prevent thrombus formation.
51. Performing passive range of motion of the immobile extremities helps
Patients who have experienced a spinal cord injury may not report
pain caused by internal injuries.
Therefore, in the immediate postinjury period, the nurse must monitor
the patient closely for signs of internal bleeding that could lead to
53. Anaphylactic shock is caused by a severe allergic reaction when a
patient who has already produced antibodies to a foreign substance
(antigen) develops a systemic antigen–antibody reaction.
This process requires that the patient has previously been exposed to
54. An antigen–antibody reaction provokes mast cells to release potent
vasoactive substances, such as histamine or bradykinin, that cause
widespread vasodilation and capillary permeability.
Anaphylactic shock occurs rapidly and is life-threatening.
Because anaphylactic shock occurs in patients already exposed to an
antigen who have developed antibodies to it, it can often be
55. Therefore, patients with known allergies need to understand the
consequences of subsequent exposure to the antigen and should wear
medical identification that lists their sensitivities.
This could prevent inadvertent administration of a medication that
would lead to anaphylactic shock.
Additionally, the patient and family need instruction about emergency
use of medications to treat anaphylaxis.
57. Treatment of anaphylactic shock requires removing the causative
antigen (eg, discontinuing an antibiotic agent), administering
medications that restore vascular tone, and providing emergency
support of basic life functions.
Epinephrine is given for its vasoconstrictive action. Diphenhydramine
(Benadryl) is administered to reverse the effects of histamine, thereby
reducing capillary permeability.
These medications are given intravenously.
58. Nebulized medications, such as albuterol (Proventil), may be given to
reverse histamine-induced bronchospasm.
If cardiac arrest and respiratory arrest are imminent or have occurred,
cardiopulmonary resuscitation is performed.
Endotracheal intubation or tracheotomy may be necessary to establish an
Intravenous lines are inserted to provide access for administering fluids and
59. The nurse has an important role in preventing anaphylactic
shock: assessing all patients for allergies or previous reactions to
antigens (eg, medications, blood products, foods, contrast
agents,latex) and communicating the existence of these allergies
or reactions to others.
Additionally, the nurse assesses the patient’s understanding
of previous reactions and steps taken by the patient and family to
prevent further exposure to antigens.
60. When new allergies are identified, the nurse advises the patient to
wear or carry identification that names the specific allergen or
When administering any new medication, the nurse observes
the patient for an allergic reaction.
61. This is especially important with intravenous medications. Allergy to
penicillin is one of the most common causes of anaphylactic shock. Patients
who have a penicillin allergy may also develop an allergy to similar
For example, they may react to cefazolin sodium (Ancef ) because it has a
similar antimicrobial action of attaching to the penicillin-binding proteins
found on the walls of infectious organisms.
Previous adverse drug reactions increase the risk that an elderly patient will
develop an undesirable reaction to a new medication.
62. If the elderly patient reports an allergy to a medication, the nurse must be aware of
the risks involved in the administration of similar medications.
In the hospital and outpatient diagnostic testing sites, the nurse must identify
patients at risk for anaphylactic reactions to contrast agents (radiopaque, dye-like
substances that may contain iodine) used for diagnostic tests.
These include patients with a known allergy to iodine or fish or those who have
had previous allergic reactions to contrast agents.
This information must be conveyed to the staff at the diagnostic testing site,
including x-ray personnel.
63. The nurse must be knowledgeable about the clinical signs of
anaphylaxis, must take immediate action if signs and symptoms
occur, and must be prepared to begin cardiopulmonary resuscitation if
cardiorespiratory arrest occurs.
In addition to monitoring the patient’s response to treatment, the nurse
assists with intubation if needed, monitors the hemodynamic status, ensures
intravenous access for administration of medications, administers
prescribed medications and fluids, and documents treatments and their
64. Community health and home care nurses whose role includes
administering medications, including antibiotic agents, in the
patient’s home or other settings must be prepared to administer
epinephrine subcutaneously or intramuscularly in the event of an
After recovery from anaphylaxis, the patient and family require
an explanation of the event.
Further, the nurse provides instruction about avoiding future exposure to antigens
and administering emergency medications to treat anaphylaxis.