Vasoplegic Shock

What is Vasoplegic Shock?

Vasoplegic shock, also known as neurogenic or vasodilatory shock, is a rare form of shock caused by excessive activation of the body’s sympathetic nervous system. This results in a drop in blood pressure and an inability of the vital organs to receive an adequate supply of oxygenated blood. Vasoplegic shock may come on suddenly and must be treated quickly in order to prevent organ failure or death.

What are the Symptoms of Vasoplegic Shock?

Signs and symptoms of vasoplegic shock vary greatly, depending on the severity of the shock. Common symptoms include:

  • Feeling faint or dizzy
  • Rapid or weak pulse
  • Confusion or disorientation
  • Low or no blood pressure
  • Rapid or shallow breathing
  • Cold, clammy skin
  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Loss of consciousness (in severe cases)

What Causes Vasoplegic Shock?

Vasoplegic shock may be caused by a number of factors, including:

  • Traumatic injury
  • Severe burns
  • Drug overdose
  • Anaphylactic reaction
  • Chronic diseases
  • Surgical procedures

How is Vasoplegic Shock Treated?

Vasoplegic shock is a life-threatening condition and must be treated quickly and aggressively. Treatment options may include:

  • Intravenous (IV) fluids to restore normal blood pressure
  • Medications to increase blood pressure and improve heart function
  • Corticosteroids to reduce inflammation
  • Mechanical ventilation to improve oxygenation
  • Dialysis to remove toxins from blood

In addition to medical treatment, surgery may be necessary to repair any underlying conditions that contributed to the shock.


Vasoplegic shock is a rare but serious medical condition that requires immediate medical attention. It is caused by an overactivity of the sympathetic nervous system, resulting in a drop in blood pressure. Symptoms of vasoplegic shock include feeling faint or dizzy, rapid or weak pulse, confusion or disorientation, and low or no blood pressure. Treatment includes intravenous fluids, medications, mechanical ventilation, and surgery. With prompt treatment, the prognosis for those affected by vasoplegic shock is generally good.