Cardiogenic shock is a life-threatening situation that occurs when the heart is unable to function, depriving critical organs of the blood they need to function properly. This may happen due to a sudden cardiac event such as a heart attack. When cardiogenic shock occurs, blood pressure becomes very low, signifying the heart’s inability to adequately pump blood in order to provide much-needed oxygen to vital organs.

Not every heart attack results in cardiogenic shock but, for those instances when it occurs, emergency treatment to improve the flow of blood and oxygen is essential.

Inova has a dedicated Cardiogenic Shock Team to provide timely decision-making and intervention that is critical to patient survival. This innovative effort involves the expertise of multiple specialists including interventional cardiology, cardiac surgery, advanced heart failure, critical care and emergency medicine. In a one-call activation process, our team is engaged to provide care for our most complex and critically ill patients.

The team focuses on:

  • Rapid diagnosis
  • Early hemodynamic assessment and expedited initiation of mechanical circulatory support such as ECMO, Impella heart pump, etc.

Patients are co-managed by an intensivist and a cardiologist or cardiac surgeon providing 24-hour care in IHVI’s cardiac or cardiothoracic surgery intensive care unit.

The best way to prevent cardiogenic shock is to lower your risk for coronary heart disease (CHD) and heart attack. If you have heart disease, it is important to get on-going treatment from a cardiologist. See a list of IHVI-affiliated cardiologists arrow


smiling man: John HarrityPatient Story: John Harrity

Imagine, you’re playing a weekly pick-up basketball game with friends. You’re in great shape — trim, fit and competitive. But during the second half of the game, you’re short of breath. You even sit on the sideline, something you’re not known to do. Your friends take notice. When they ask what’s wrong, you say call 911. You don’t remember anything else until you wake up three weeks later.
Read John's story of recovery from cardiogenic shock arrow