Management of haemorrhage and haemorrhagic shock

Management of haemorrhage and haemorrhagic shock

Gabrielle Catrin Wilcox Staff nurse, emergency department, Morriston Hospital, Swansea, Wales

Why you should read this article:
  • To improve your knowledge of the pathophysiology and classification of haemorrhage and haemorrhagic shock

  • To support your practice in assessing and managing patients who present with haemorrhage or haemorrhagic shock

  • To count towards revalidation as part of your 35 hours of CPD, or you may wish to write a reflective account (UK readers)

  • To contribute towards your professional development and local registration renewal requirements (non-UK readers)

Haemorrhage is defined as the acute loss of blood from the circulating volume, while haemorrhagic shock is characterised by suboptimal perfusion caused by bleeding. Their prompt recognition and management is vital to ensure optimal outcomes. This article discusses the assessment and management of patients experiencing haemorrhage and developing haemorrhagic shock. It also outlines how these conditions are classified, and explains their pathophysiology. The article emphasises the importance of a thorough ABCDE (airway, breathing, circulation, disability, exposure) assessment and prompt identification of the source of bleeding, along with the initial management of a patient who is bleeding.

Nursing Standard. doi: 10.7748/ns.2020.e11600

Peer review

This article has been subject to external double-blind peer review and checked for plagiarism using automated software



Conflict of interest

None declared

Wilcox GC (2020) Management of haemorrhage and haemorrhagic shock. Nursing Standard. doi: 10.7748/ns.2020.e11600

Published online: 29 October 2020

Want to read more?

Subscribe for unlimited access

Try 1 month’s access for just £1 and get:

Your subscription package includes:
  • Full access to and the Nursing Standard app
  • The monthly digital edition
  • RCNi Portfolio and interactive CPD quizzes
  • RCNi Learning with 200+ evidence-based modules
  • 10 articles a month from any other RCNi journal
Already subscribed? Log in

Alternatively, you can purchase access to this article for the next seven days. Buy now