Hypovolemic Shock Nursing Care Plans

Hypovolemic Shock also known as hemorrhagic shock is a medical condition resulting from a decreased blood volume caused by blood loss, which leads to reduced cardiac output and inadequate tissue perfusion. Common causes include internal or external bleeding, extensive burns, vomiting, profuse sweating, and diarrhea. Hypovolemic Shock also often occurs after trauma, GI bleeding, or rupture of organs or aneurysms. The symptoms of is dependent on the severity of the fluid or blood loss. However, all symptoms of shock are life-threatening and must be given medical treatment immediately. The prognosis is dependent on the degree of volume loss.

Nursing Care Plans

Nursing care for patients with Hypovolemic Shock focuses on assisting with treatment aimed at the cause of the shock and restoring intravascular volume.

Here are four (4) nursing care plans (NCP) for Hypovolemic Shock:

  1. Decreased Cardiac Output
  2. Deficient Fluid Volume
  3. Ineffective Tissue Perfusion
  4. Anxiety
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Decreased Cardiac Output: Inadequate blood pumped by the heart to meet metabolic demands of the body.

May be related to

  • Alterations in heart rate and rhythm.
  • Decreased ventricular filling (preload).
  • Fluid volume loss of 30% or more.
  • Late uncompensated hypovolemic shock.

Possibly evidenced by

  • Abnormal arterial blood gasses (ABGs); hypoxemia and acidosis.
  • Capillary refill greater than 3 seconds.
  • Cardiac dysrhythmias.
  • Change in level of consciousness.
  • Cold, clammy skin.
  • Decreased urinary output (less than 30 ml per hour).
  • Decreased peripheral pulses.
  • Decreased pulse pressure.
  • Decreased blood pressure.
  • Tachycardia.

Desired Outcomes

  • Client will maintain adequate cardiac output, as evidenced by strong peripheral pulses, systolic BP within 20 mm Hg of baseline, HR 60 to 100 beats per minute with regular rhythm, urinary output 30 ml/hr or greater, warm and dry skin, and normal level of consciousness.
Nursing Interventions Rationale
Assess the client’s HR and BP, including peripheral pulses. Use direct intra-arterial monitoring as ordered. Sinus tachycardia and increased arterial BP are seen in the early stages to maintain an adequate cardiac output. Hypotension happens as condition deteriorates. Vasoconstriction may lead to unreliable blood pressure. Pulse pressure (systolic minus diastolic) decreases in shock. Older client have reduced response to catecholamines; thus their response to decreased cardiac output may be blunted, with less increase in HR.
Assess the client’s ECG for dysrhythmias. Cardiac dysrhythmias may occur from the low perfusion state, acidosis, or hypoxia, as well as from side effects of cardiac medications used to treat this condition.
Assess the central and peripheral pulses. Pulses are weak, with reduced stroke volume and cardiac output.
Assess capillary refill time. Capillary refill is slow and sometimes absent.
Assess the respiratory rate, rhythm and auscultate breath sounds. Characteristics of a shock include rapid, shallow respirations and adventitious breath sounds such as crackles and wheezes.
Monitor oxygen saturation and arterial blood gasses. Pulse oximetry is used in measuring oxygen saturation. The normal oxygen saturation should be maintained at 90% or higher. As shock progresses, aerobic metabolism stops and lactic acidosis occurs, resulting in the increased level of carbon dioxide and decreasing pH.
Monitor the client’s central venous pressure (CVP), pulmonary artery diastolic pressure (PADP), pulmonary capillary wedge pressure, and cardiac output/cardiac index. CVP provides information on filling pressures of the right side of the heart; pulmonary artery diastolic pressure and pulmonary capillary wedge pressure reflect left-sided fluid volumes. Cardiac output provides an objective number to guide therapy.
Assess for any changes in the level of consciousness. Restlessness and anxiety are early signs of cerebral hypoxia while confusion and loss of consciousness occur in the later stages. Older clients are especially susceptible to reduced perfusion to vital organs.
Assess urine output. The renal system compensates for low BP by retaining water. Oliguria is a classic sign of inadequate renal perfusion from reduced cardiac output.
Assess skin color, temperature, and moisture. Cool, pale, clammy skin is secondary to a compensatory increase in sympathetic nervous system stimulation and low cardiac output and desaturation.
Provide electrolyte replacement as prescribed. Electrolyte imbalance may cause dysrhythmias or other pathological states.
Administer fluid and blood replacement therapy as prescribed. Maintaining an adequate circulating blood volume is a priority.
If possible, use a fluid warmer or rapid fluid infuser. Fluid warmers keep core temperature. Infusing cold blood is associated with myocardial dysrhythmias and paradoxical hypotension. Macropore filtering IV devices should also be used to remove small clothes and debris.
If the client’s condition progressively deteriorates, initiate cardiopulmonary resuscitation or other lifesaving measures according to Advanced Cardiac Life Support guidelines, as indicated. Shock unresponsive to fluid replacement can worsen to cardiogenic shock. Depending on etiological factors, vasopressors, inotropic agents, antidysrhythmics, or other medications can be used.
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See Also


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Cardiac Care Plans


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Further Reading


Recommended books and resources:

  1. Nursing Care Plans: Diagnoses, Interventions, and Outcomes
  2. Nurse's Pocket Guide: Diagnoses, Prioritized Interventions and Rationales
  3. Nursing Diagnoses 2015-17: Definitions and Classification
  4. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V-TR)
  5. Manual of Psychiatric Nursing Care Planning
  6. Maternal Newborn Nursing Care Plans
  7. Delmar's Maternal-Infant Nursing Care Plans, 2nd Edition
  8. Maternal Newborn Nursing Care Plans