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When does hypovolemic shock result in death?

Dr. Jeanne Morrison, PhD
Family Practitioner

Hypovolemic shock, left untreated, can cause death at three different points in its development. First, in the case of severe bleeding, death can occur very soon after the initial injury or internal hemorrhage. Second, deaths can occur within the next few hours due to the gradual failure of the body's tissues. Third, death can occur days later due to organ failure or infection. Even the process of restoring oxygen to the body's tissues can prove damaging on this timescale.

Hypovolemic shock results in death when there is not enough volume of blood in the blood vessels to sustain blood pressure and bring oxygenated blood to the brain and other vital organs. As the organs are deprived of oxygen, death follows. For vital organs such as the brain, brain tissue will start to die within 4 minutes of being deprived of oxygen.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.