Shock is defined as the inability of the circulation to meet the metabolic needs of tissues. This circulatory failure leads to inadequate tissue perfusion causing hypoxia, metabolic acidosis and cellular injury. Intracellular enzymes, antigens and vasoactive substances such as bradykinin, prostaglandins, renin and catecholamines are then released into the circulation. The syndrome may be complicated by disseminated intravascular coagulation, a respiratory distress syndrome (‘shock lung’) and by acute renal failure (‘shock kidney’).
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