Cardiogenic Shock Recovery
As you recover from cardiogenic shock, it is important to follow your treatment plan and adopt healthy lifestyle changes to prevent another event. You also may need follow-up treatment or support for implanted devices or complications of cardiogenic shock, including organ failure.
Monitor your condition
Your doctor may recommend regular follow-up visits to monitor your condition and any medical device that supports your health after cardiogenic shock.
- If you have an implanted medical device to help your heart work better, your doctor will check to make sure that the device is working properly. Your doctor will then give you instructions on what to do if the device gives a warning that it is not working correctly.
- If your heart does not respond well enough to other treatments, your doctor may recommend a heart transplant. While you wait for a heart transplant, you may need a total artificial heart if you had cardiogenic shock affecting both the left and right ventricles of your heart.
- Tell your doctor if you have any new symptoms, if your symptoms worsen, or if you have problems with other medical conditions that may increase your risk of heart events.
Adopt healthy lifestyle changes
Because cardiogenic shock is usually a serious complication of coronary heart disease, your healthcare provider may recommend a heart-healthy lifestyle.
- Practice heart-healthy eating, with the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) eating plan. A heart-healthy eating plan includes fruits, vegetables, and whole grains and limits saturated fats, (salt), added sugars, and alcohol.
- Be physically active. Regular physical activity can help manage coronary heart disease risk factors, such as high blood cholesterol, high blood pressure, or overweight and obesity.
- Aim for a healthy weight. Losing just 3% to 5% of your current weight can help you manage some heart disease risk factors, such as high blood cholesterol and diabetes. Greater amounts of weight loss can also improve blood pressure readings.
- Manage stress. Learning how to manage stress, relax, and cope with problems can improve your emotional and physical health.
- Quit smoking. Visit Smoking and Your Heart and Your Guide to a Healthy Heart. Although these NHLBI resources focus on heart health, they include basic information about how to quit smoking. For free help and support to quit smoking, you can call the National Cancer Institute’s Smoking Quitline at 1-877-44U-QUIT (1-877-448-7848).
If your cardiogenic shock was a complication of coronary heart disease, you may be referred for exercise-based cardiac rehabilitation to manage symptoms and reduce the chances of future problems. Studies have shown that exercise-based cardiac rehabilitation reduces the risk of hospitalization. Many people who have done cardiac rehabilitation also report better quality of life.
Prevent a repeat event
If you had cardiogenic shock following a heart attack, your doctor will work with you to manage health conditions that can raise your risk of heart problems.
- If you have diabetes you will need to check your blood sugar and keep taking prescribed medicines.
- Your doctor may prescribe statin medicine to lower your .
- Your doctor may recommend aspirin to prevent a repeat heart attack. Low-dose aspirin may help prevent blood clots and reduce the risk of repeat heart attacks and other complications of coronary heart disease for some people, including those who have diabetes.
If your cardiogenic shock was caused by something outside of the heart, like a blood clot in the lung, your doctor will recommend follow-up treatment to break up or stabilize the clots and help blood flow return to normal. This may help prevent a repeat event.
Take care of your mental health
Living with a heart condition may cause fear, anxiety, depression, and stress. Talk with your healthcare providers about how you feel and your options for additional support.
- Talk to a professional counselor. Your doctor may recommend medicines or other treatments that can improve your quality of life.
- Join a patient support group. This may help you adjust to life after cardiogenic shock. You can find out how other people with similar symptoms have coped with them. Your healthcare provider may be able to recommend local support groups, or you can check with an area medical center.
- Seek support from family and friends. Letting your loved ones know how you feel and what they can do to help you can help relieve stress and anxiety.
Learn the warning signs of serious complications
A lack of oxygen-rich blood to the body can lead to problems everywhere, including in the heart, brain, and kidneys. Learn the warning signs of repeat heart attacks, stroke, and other symptoms of coronary heart disease. Coronary heart disease can lead to cardiogenic shock.
- Brain injury: Brain cells can begin to die within a few minutes after oxygen supply has been reduced or cut off. Symptoms include a short attention span, poor judgment, memory loss, and a decrease in physical coordination. Talk with your doctor about what to do if you or a loved one who had cardiogenic shock experiences the symptoms of brain injury.
- Heart attack: Symptoms of heart attack include mild or severe chest pain or discomfort in the center of the chest or upper abdomen that lasts for more than a few minutes or goes away and comes back. It can feel like pressure, squeezing, fullness, heartburn, or indigestion. There may also be pain down the left arm. Women may also have chest pain and pain down the left arm, but they are more likely to have less typical symptoms, such as shortness of breath, nausea, vomiting, unusual tiredness, and pain in the back, shoulders, or jaw.
- Kidney failure: The symptoms of kidney disease can begin so slowly that you may not notice them right away. Talk with your doctor about whether you need regular testing of your kidney function and early treatments.
- Liver damage: When the liver does not receive enough oxygen from the blood, the result can be a condition called hypoxic hepatitis. hepatitis may go away when the cause of the cardiogenic shock is treated. Rarely, the liver may stop working; this is called liver failure.
- Stroke: If you think someone may be having a stroke, act F.A.S.T. and perform the following simple test.
F—Face: Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop?
A—Arms: Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
S—Speech: Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase. Is their speech slurred or strange?
T—Time: If you observe any of these signs, call 9-1-1 right away. Early treatment is essential.