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Cardiogenic Shock Diagnosis

Given the seriousness of this condition, your physician will work to diagnose and treat cardiogenic shock quickly. To make an initial diagnosis, he will look at your symptoms and blood pressure (these are often gathered by the emergency medical team).

Other tests that your doctor may use include:

  • Chest X-ray is a non-invasive test that takes pictures of the heart and lungs; these can help the doctor determine if there’s a problem that is causing chest pain.
     
  • Electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG) is a simple non-invasive test that can be done in the doctor’s office using small adhesive pads called electrodes that are placed on the arms, legs, and chest. These electrodes are connected to a machine that detects and prints out the heart's electrical impulses, giving a 10-second snapshot of what the heart is doing right at that moment.
     
  • Blood tests are used to determine if there is too much carbon dioxide or not enough oxygen in the blood – indicators of shock. Blood tests also used to measure for certain enzymes that indicate kidney or liver damage, while high levels of certain heart muscle biochemicals (eg, CK, CK-MB, troponin, serum myoglobin) suggest a heart attack.
     
  • Echocardiogram is a non-invasive test using ultrasound (sound waves) and a device called a transducer — which is placed on the surface of the chest — (ultrasound) to create a moving picture of the heart. It shows the size and shape of the heart chambers, and reveals problems with pumping function perhaps due to a heart attack.
     
  • Left heart catheterization uses a catheter (long thin flexible tube) that is inserted through an artery in the leg, arm, or neck and guided to either the coronary artery to check for blockages, or to the inside of the heart to measure volume or pressure, or to take pictures of heart walls or valves.
     
  • Right heart catheterization uses a catheter (long thin flexible tube) that is inserted through a vein in the leg, arm or neck and guided to the right side of the heart to provide a closer look at the pulmonary artery, which delivers blood from the heart to the lungs. Using this approach your doctor can check blood pressure to see if blood is "backing up" and damaging the heart, and evaluate volume status, heart function and the artery’s ability to deliver enough oxygen to the body.