Published on July 17, 2018

Treating cardiogenic shock

Mercy one of the first to adopt new treatment strategy

cardiogenic shockSurviving a heart attack is no small feat. But it’s just the beginning for survivors who go on to have a condition called cardiogenic shock.

Cardiogenic shock, which can be fatal, occurs suddenly when the heart can no longer pump enough blood to the body. But at Mercy Fitzgerald, those with cardiogenic shock now have a better chance at living.

John J. Finley, MD, is an interventional cardiologist at Mercy Fitzgerald, which was one of the first hospitals in the country to adopt a new set of treatment best practices tested in a Detroit pilot program. Hospitals in the pilot program were able to boost cardiogenic shock survival from 50 percent to nearly 80 percent.

How? By taking a more aggressive approach to diagnosis and treatment, Dr. Finley says.

That means doctors begin looking for evidence of shock earlier. If they find that a patient’s heart is showing signs of trouble, they begin to treat the problem right away.

One treatment option is to place a device in the heart to help it pump enough blood. The device, an Impella heart pump, is delivered to the heart on the end of a slender wire (catheter) inserted in a blood vessel in the groin.

“We’re trying to implement best practices and be on the forefront of cardiology practice,” Dr. Finley says. “We want to give someone with cardiogenic shock the best chance of recovery and survival.”

That’s bringing new hope to those with a condition that, until now, has often been fatal.