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Cardiogenic shock occurs when the heart is unable to pump enough blood to meet the needs of the body. Often, cardiogenic occurs due to severe heart attack, but it can also occur after heart surgery, in patients with chronic heart failure or with a severe heart disease such as cardiomyopathy. 

Advanced Diagnostics

Given the seriousness of this condition, our team will work to diagnose and treat cardiogenic shock as quickly as possible. Many tests can be used to confirm diagnosis, starting with blood pressure measurement (patients with cardiogenic shock have very low blood pressure). Other tests may include blood tests, chest x-rays, echocardiograms and cardiac catheterizations. 

Learn more our advanced cardiovascular diagnostic tests.

Comprehensive Treatments for Cardiogenic Shock

The goal of treatment for cardiogenic shock is to restore blood pressure and heart function as quickly as possible to minimize the damage to the patient’s heart and other organs. Treatments often may begin in an emergency setting, with oxygen assistance and IV fluids to increase blood pressure or heart function. 

Depending on the cause of cardiogenic shock some patients may be prescribed medications as a first stage of treatment to stabilize the hearts function. When more advanced medical intervention is needed our Cardiogenic Shock Team can provide patients with the full scope of mechanical circulatory support devices to either temporarily support the heart as it recovers, or as a bridge to surgical intervention to correct the problem within your heart. Short-term mechanical circulatory devices used by our team of physicians to treat cardiogenic shock include:

  • Impella® — The Impella 5.0 heart pump is used as a short team device to stabilize the heart function and provide pumping support until further surgical intervention can be performed.
  • Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO) — ECMO is used to quickly stabilize patients in cardiogenic shock by supporting cardiac function. ECMO can be used until functional recovery has occurred or until the patient stabilizes to receive further treatment. 
  • LifeSPARC™ — This short-term heart pump provides a steady supply of oxygenated blood to the body’s organs while decompressing the left ventricle to reduce how hard the heart needs to work.
Our ECMO Program is designated as a Center on Path to Excellence in Life Support by the Extracorporeal Life Support Organization (ELSO). The designation recognizes centers that demonstrate an exceptional commitment to evidence-based processes and quality measures, staff training and continuing education, patient satisfaction and ongoing clinical care.

When further medical care is needed, our team of physicians may perform a surgical intervention to correct the problem within your heart. These surgical options can include: 

Team Collaboration and Exceptional Staff

Our Cardiogenic Shock team brings together the expertise of advanced heart failure cardiologists and cardiovascular surgeons who quickly assess and determine a treatment plan for cardiogenic patients upon referral.  Patients will also be supported by a dedicated team of anesthesiologists, intensivists and perfusionists. Our team is available 24/7 for the evaluation and management of cardiogenic shock patients. Learn more about our Cardiogenic Shock team.


As members of an academic medical center, heart and vascular physicians are up-to-date on the latest research findings and treatment techniques. Our patients also have access to significant local and national research studies and clinical trials.