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Chapter: Medical Physiology: Circulatory Shock and Physiology of Its Treatment

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Hypovolemic Shock Caused by Trauma

One of the most common causes of circulatory shock is trauma to the body.

Hypovolemic Shock Caused by Trauma

One of the most common causes of circulatory shock is trauma to the body. Often the shock results simply from hemorrhage caused by the trauma, but it can also occur even without hemorrhage, because extensive contusion of the body can damage the capillaries sufficiently to allow excessive loss of plasma into the tissues. This results in greatly reduced plasma volume, with resultant hypovolemic shock.

Various attempts have been made to implicate toxic factors released by the traumatized tissues as one of the causes of shock after trauma. However, cross-transfusion experiments into normal animals have failed to show significant toxic elements.

In summary, traumatic shock seems to result mainly from hypovolemia, although there might also be a moderate degree of concomitant neurogenic shock caused by loss of vasomotor tone, as discussed next.


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