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Assessment and treatment of perfusion abnormalities in the emergency patient.

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  • 1Queen Mother Hospital, Royal Veterinary College, Hawkshead Lane, North Mymms, Hertfordshire AL9 7TA, United Kingdom.


Many patients presented to the emergency veterinarian are suffering from global or local tissue hypoperfusion. Global or systemic hypoperfusion can occur secondary to a reduction in the effective circulating intravascular volume (hypovolemic shock) or reduced ability of the heart to pump blood around the body secondary to reduced cardiac function (cardiogenic shock),obstruction to blood flow (obstructive shock), or maldistribution of the circulating intravascular volume (distributive shock). Initial assessment involving physical examination supplemented by measurement of hemodynamic and metabolic parameters allows the clinician to recognize and treat patients with severe global hypoperfusion. Use of techniques like sublingual capnometry and measurement of central venous oxygen saturation may aid recognition and evaluation of early hypoperfusion. Treatment decisions are made based on an assessment of the severity of the hypoperfusion and its probable underlying cause. Early effective treatment of hypoperfusion is likely to lead to a better outcome for the patient.

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