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When the body experiences severe trauma, the result is a cascade of events that, when occurring together, constitute shock. Common symptoms include dilated pupils and pallid skin, hypotension, and a sudden drop in blood pressure. There are several types of shock, all with their own causes and manifestations. In some cases, the symptoms are mild, while in others, things happen so quickly that there is barely time for medics to respond. In all cases, no matter how mild the symptoms, medical treatment is necessary -- uncontrolled shock is often fatal.

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1. Obstructive Shock

Obstructive shock is a mechanical impediment that prevents the heart from filling, resulting in decreased cardiac output. Causes of obstructive shock include

  • Cardiac tamponade: when fluid fills the pericardium -- the sac around the heart -- the heart gets squeezed by the additional pressure and can’t fill properly.
  • Pulmonary hypertension: blood pressure increases in the lung arteries for an unknown reason.
  • Treating obstructive shock usually requires stabilizing blood pressure first and then dealing with the underlying cause to restore cardiac function.

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