Does shock affect children differently than adults?

Diana Meeks
Diana Meeks on behalf of Sigma Nursing
Family Practitioner

Shock can lead to multi-organ failure in both children and adults. Septic shock tends to be more prevalent in the very young and the very old. Because the organs of children are smaller and less developed, the risk of damage and organ failure is higher. Immediate medical attention for symptoms of shock will decrease the risk of damage to the vital organs in children and adults.

Mark Sklansky, MD
Pediatric Cardiology
Both children and adults can develop shock related to heart failure (cardiogenic shock), poor tone in peripheral vascular bed (distributive/septic shock) or acute dehydration/depletion of intravascular volume (hypovolemic shock). The signs of shock in children may be more subtle than those observed in adults, potentially leading to delays in diagnosis and treatment. Blood pressure in children, for instance, may be maintained even in the presence of severe cardiogenic shock, so the presence of a normal blood pressure may be misleading and delay appropriate intervention.

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