Heart Failure Overview

Cardiogenic Shock Program

Comprehensive Care at New York’s #1 Hospital

World Leaders in Cardiogenic Shock at the #1 Hospital in New York

NewYork-Presbyterian's renowned cardiac care programs provide advanced, evidence-based support for cardiogenic shock. Our multidisciplinary Cardiogenic Shock Tem is available 24/7 to assist with the immediate triage and management of cardiogenic shock patients. We offer the full armamentarium of mechanical circulatory support, as well as one of the most experienced heart transplantation programs in the world.

Cardiogenic Shock Program Team
  • To support your patient during hospital transfer, we have specialized transport teams experienced with managing acute mechanical circulatory support devices
  • Patients have access to intra-aortic balloon pump, left and right sided ventricular assist devices (VADs – both percutaneous and surgical), and ECMO to support a failing heart as a bridge to recovery, durable LVAD or heart transplantation
  • We provide referring physicians with frequent updates about your patient's progress
Cardiogenic Shock Program Team

Call for a Patient Transfer

Contact us to discuss a case and see if your patient is a candidate for transfer to the emergency cardiac care programs at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center or NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center for the treatment of cardiogenic shock.

FAQ for Patients and Families

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Cardiogenic shock is a condition which represents heart failure in its most severe form. The heart suddenly cannot pump enough blood to the vital organs in the body. Cardiogenic shock most commonly occurs as a result of a severe heart attack but can also occur after heart surgery or another illness that leads to sudden worsening of heart function. Without prompt treatment, this condition is often rapidly fatal.

The most common cause for cardiogenic shock is a severe heart attack. A heart attack occurs when there is a lack of oxygen-rich blood flow to the heart muscle leading to damage to the pumping chambers of the heart. This damage can cause sudden weakening of the heart’s pumping function, leading to cardiogenic shock.

Cardiogenic shock can also occur:

  • After heart surgery
  • Acute heart failure from other conditions than a heart attack
  • Acute worsening of chronic heart failure
  • Myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle)
  • Endocarditis (infection of the heart valves)

When a patient experiences cardiogenic shock, their blood pressure is very low; this is a sign that the heart is unable to pump enough blood to vital organs. Patients may also experience the following signs and symptoms:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Rapid breathing
  • Rapid heart beat
  • Low blood pressure
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Confusion
  • Pale and/or cool skin
  • Sweating
  • Decreased amount of urination

The diagnosis of cardiogenic shock is typically made in the hospital setting by a doctor. Since a common cause of cardiogenic shock is a heart attack, it is important to know the signs and symptoms of a heart attack. If you were to experience any of the following, you should seek medical attention quickly:

  • Chest pain or pressure in the center of your chest
  • Pain radiating into your shoulders, neck, jaw or arms
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sweating
  • Lightheadedness or dizziness
  • Nausea and/or vomiting

Doctors will suspect cardiogenic shock in patients based on their symptoms and vital signs. Further testing can help confirm the diagnosis. Tests typically include:

  • Electrocardiogram (ECG) – A recording of your heart’s electrical activity is done by attaching electrodes to the skin of your chest. Specific patterns on an ECG may indicate a heart attack or electrical abnormality of the heart.
  • Chest X-ray – This test helps your doctor visualize your heart’s shape and size. In addition, the chest x-ray will demonstrate whether there is fluid build-up in your lungs.
  • Blood tests – Blood tests are used to measure the function of your organs and the amount of oxygen in your blood.
  • Echocardiogram – This ultrasound test evaluates the function of your heart’s pumping chambers and valves.
  • Cardiac catheterization – This procedure involves inserting a tube into an artery either in your arm or leg in order to inject dye into the arteries that supply blood to the heart to look for blockages. In addition, a catheter placed in a vein can make pressure measurements in your heart and lungs and evaluate the heart’s ability to pump blood to the rest of the body.

Patients with cardiogenic shock require prompt treatment in order to restore blood flow to vital organs. Treatment can include any or all of the following:

  • Intravenous medications can help to increase the heart’s pumping function and raise blood pressure to improve the blood flow. 
  • Angioplasty and stenting of heart arteries can restore blood flow to the heart muscle. However, many patients will continue to worsen despite these treatments. 
  • Mechanical circulatory support devices may be required to stabilize the patient. These devices include miniaturized heart pumps that can be placed through large blood vessels and extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) in which an externalized heart pump circulates oxygenated blood to the body. Treating a cardiogenic shock patient with mechanical circulatory support devices give the heart time to recover or bridge the patient to either a longterm heart assist device called an LVAD (left ventricular assist device) or heart transplantation.

The best way to prevent cardiogenic shock is to prevent the development of coronary artery disease and heart attacks. Following a heart healthy lifestyle is the key to the prevention. More specifically, we recommend the following:

  • Control your blood pressure  – Make sure your blood pressure is checked regularly and adhere to medical treatment if your blood pressure is not at goal.
  • Do not smoke – Seek help with quitting if you are smoking.
  • Control your cholesterol – Have your cholesterol evaluated by a physician and discuss need for lifestyle changes or medication treatment. Avoid high cholesterol foods.
  • Eat a heart healthy diet – Limit high fat and high cholesterol foods and enrich your diet with vegetables and fruits. 
  • Exercise regularly – Doing aerobic exercise up to 30 minutes per day is healthy for your heart. In addition, exercise can help lower your blood pressure and improve your cholesterol.
  • Limit alcohol intake

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The Platinum ELSO Award recognizes centers who have achieved qualifying scores on the Excellence in Life Support Application.

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