Tests and diagnosis

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Cardiogenic shock is usually diagnosed in an emergency setting. Doctors will check for signs and symptoms of shock, and will then perform tests to find out the cause. Tests to diagnose cardiogenic shock include:

  • Blood pressure measurement. People in shock often have very low blood pressure.
  • Electrocardiogram (ECG). This is done to diagnose a heart attack, often while you're answering questions about your symptoms. This test records the electrical activity of your heart via electrodes attached to your skin. Impulses are recorded as "waves" displayed on a monitor or printed on paper.

    Because injured heart muscle doesn't conduct electrical impulses normally, the ECG may show that you are having or just had a heart attack.

  • Chest X-ray. This allows your doctor to check the size and shape of your heart and its blood vessels and whether there's fluid in your lungs.
  • Blood tests. Blood will be drawn to check for organ damage, infection and heart attack. Another type of blood test (arterial blood gas) may be used to measure oxygen in your blood.
  • Echocardiogram. Sound waves produce an image of your heart, which can help identify damage to an area of your heart from a heart attack. Sound waves directed at your heart from a wandlike device (transducer) held on your chest provide video images of your heart.
  • Coronary catheterization (angiogram). A liquid dye is injected into the arteries of your heart through a long, thin tube (catheter) that's inserted through an artery, usually in your leg, to the arteries in your heart. As the dye fills your arteries, the arteries become visible on X-ray, revealing areas of blockage or narrowing.
Oct. 09, 2014