Pathophysiology and treatment of hypovolaemia and hypovolaemic shock
Intended for healthcare professionals
Evidence and practice    

Pathophysiology and treatment of hypovolaemia and hypovolaemic shock

Rebecca Summers PhD Researcher, Swansea University, Swansea, Wales

Why you should read this article
  • To familiarise yourself with the pathophysiology of hypovolaemia

  • To recognise the signs and symptoms of hypovolaemic shock

  • To refresh your knowledge of the treatment pathways for hypovolaemia and hypovolaemic shock

Hypovolaemia involves a fall in circulatory volume resulting from a loss of blood, plasma and/or plasma fluid, which is caused by internal or external haemorrhage. In turn, hypovolaemic shock occurs as a result of insufficient oxygen supply and is associated with significant mortality. Therefore, it is essential that nurses have a comprehensive understanding of the presentation, progression and treatment of hypovolaemia and hypovolaemic shock. This article details the physiology and development of hypovolaemia and hypovolaemic shock, and uses a case study to demonstrate an appropriate assessment and treatment pathway.

Nursing Standard. doi: 10.7748/ns.2020.e10675

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

Summers R (2020) Pathophysiology and treatment of hypovolaemia and hypovolaemic shock. Nursing Standard. doi: 10.7748/ns.2020.e10675

Published online: 10 February 2020

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