Assessing and managing post-operative haemorrhage and haemorrhagic shock
Intended for healthcare professionals
Evidence and practice    

Assessing and managing post-operative haemorrhage and haemorrhagic shock

Mags Guest Lecturer in adult nursing and clinical skills, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Hull, England

Why you should read this article:
  • To enhance your understanding of the physiology of post-operative haemorrhage

  • To understand the compensatory mechanisms seen during haemorrhage and how these present as altered observations

  • To familiarise yourself with the interventions used to halt haemorrhage and restore intravascular volume

Improved surgical outcomes have been achieved as a result of preoperative risk assessments and developments in surgical and anaesthetic techniques. However, post-operative haemorrhage remains a life-threatening complication requiring swift recognition and management. This article explores the compensatory mechanisms the body employs during haemorrhage and how these may present as altered observations that can aid early recognition. It also describes the rapid assessment of patients using the ABCDE (airway, breathing, circulation, disability, exposure) approach and outlines the management interventions used to halt the bleeding and restore intravascular volume.

Nursing Standard. doi: 10.7748/ns.2021.e11823

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

Guest M (2021) Assessing and managing post-operative haemorrhage and haemorrhagic shock. Nursing Standard. doi: 10.7748/ns.2021.e11823

Published online: 15 November 2021

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