Hemorrhagic shock

J Obstet Gynaecol Can. 2002 Jun;24(6):504-20; quiz 521-4.


Objective: To review the clinical aspects of hemorrhagic shock and provide recommendations for therapy.

Options: Early recognition of hemorrhagic shock and prompt systematic intervention will help avoid poor outcomes.

Outcomes: Establish guidelines to assist in early recognition of hemorrhagic shock and to conduct resuscitation in an organized and evidence-based manner.

Evidence: Medline references were sought using the MeSH term "hemorrhagic shock." All articles published in the disciplines of obstetrics and gynaecology, surgery, trauma, critical care, anesthesia, pharmacology, and hematology between 1 January 1990 and 31 August 2000 were reviewed, as well as core textbooks from these fields. Selected references from these articles and book chapters were also obtained and reviewed. The level of evidence has been determined using the criteria described by the Canadian Task Force on the Periodic Health Examination.

Recommendations: 1. Clinicians should be familiar with the clinical signs of hemorrhagic shock. (III-B) 2. Clinicians should be familiar with the stages of hemorrhagic shock. (III-B) 3. Clinicians should assess each woman's risk for hemorrhagic shock and prepare for the procedure accordingly. (III-B) 4. Resuscitation from hemorrhagic shock should include adequate oxygenation. (II-3A) 5. Resuscitation from hemorrhagic shock should include restoration of circulating volume by placement of two large-bore IVs, and rapid infusion of a balanced crystalloid solution. (I-A) 6. Isotonic crystalloid or colloid solutions can be used for volume replacement in hemorrhagic shock (I-B). There is no place for hypotonic dextrose solutions in the management of hemorrhagic shock (I-E). 7. Blood component transfusion is indicated when deficiencies have been documented by clinical assessment or hematological investigations (II-2B). They should be warmed and infused through filtered lines with normal saline, free of additives and drugs (II-3B). 8. Vasoactive agents are rarely indicated in the management of hemorrhagic shock and should be considered only when volume replacement is complete, hemorrhage is arrested, and hypotension continues. They should be administered in a critical care setting with the assistance of a multidisciplinary team. (III-B) 9. Appropriate resuscitation requires ongoing evaluation of response to therapy, including clinical evaluation, and hematological, biochemical, and metabolic assessments. (III-B) 10. In hemorrhagic shock, prompt recognition and arrest of the source of hemorrhage, while implementing resuscitative measures, is recommended. (III-B)VALIDATION: These guidelines have been reviewed by the Clinical Practice Obstetrics Committee and approved by Executive and Council of the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada.

Sponsors: The Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada.

Publication types

  • Guideline
  • Practice Guideline

MeSH terms

  • Blood Transfusion / methods
  • Blood Transfusion / standards
  • Evidence-Based Medicine
  • Female
  • Fluid Therapy / methods
  • Fluid Therapy / standards
  • Gynecology / methods*
  • Gynecology / standards
  • Humans
  • Obstetrics / methods*
  • Obstetrics / standards
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications, Cardiovascular / diagnosis*
  • Pregnancy Complications, Cardiovascular / etiology
  • Pregnancy Complications, Cardiovascular / therapy*
  • Research Design
  • Resuscitation / methods*
  • Resuscitation / standards
  • Risk Factors
  • Shock, Hemorrhagic / diagnosis*
  • Shock, Hemorrhagic / etiology
  • Shock, Hemorrhagic / therapy*