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Hypovolemic Shock

Hypovolemic Shock Pronunciation: Hypo-vo-le-mic Shock (hī’pō-vō-lē’mik shŏk)

Definition: Hypovolemic shock is a serious, life-threatening condition that occurs when the body loses more than 20% of its blood or fluid supply, making it impossible for the heart to pump enough blood to the body. It can result from severe injury, blood loss, burns, or severe vomiting and diarrhea.

What is Hypovolemic Shock?


Hypovolemic shock is a medical emergency requiring immediate attention. It often results from severe blood loss, such as from a traumatic injury, major surgery, or severe burns. It can also occur with severe vomiting or diarrhea that causes a loss of fluids.

Key Facts about Hypovolemic Shock:

  • Hypovolemic shock is characterized by rapid heart rate, low blood pressure, paleness, cold skin, rapid breathing, and confusion or unconsciousness.
  • The primary treatment is to control the cause of the fluid loss and replace the lost fluids, often with intravenous (IV) fluids and blood transfusions.
  • Early and aggressive treatment improves the likelihood of survival. Without prompt treatment, hypovolemic shock can lead to organ failure and death.

Hypovolemic Shock Symptoms & Treatment


Symptoms of hypovolemic shock may include a rapid heart rate, low blood pressure, rapid breathing, pale or cold skin, sweating, confusion, and loss of consciousness.


Treatment focuses on stopping the fluid loss and restoring the lost fluids. This typically includes administering intravenous (IV) fluids, blood transfusions, and medications to improve heart function and blood pressure.

Frequently Asked Questions About Hypovolemic Shock

What causes hypovolemic shock?

Hypovolemic shock is typically caused by severe blood loss from a traumatic injury, surgery, or severe burns. It can also be caused by severe fluid loss from vomiting or diarrhea.

How is hypovolemic shock treated?

Treatment for hypovolemic shock involves stopping the source of the fluid or blood loss, if possible, and replacing the lost fluids or blood with intravenous (IV) administration.


  1. MedlinePlus. (n.d.). Hypovolemic shock. Retrieved July 26, 2023, from