Cardiogenic shock

Cardiogenic shock is a life-threatening condition which occurs when the heart cannot pump enough blood to meet the body’s needs. It typically happens after a heart attack but can also occur due to other reasons including childbirth and inflammation of the heart muscle. It can also occur due to worsening heart failure.

When cardiogenic shock occurs, the blood pressure falls, signifying the heart’s inability to adequately pump blood and provide oxygen to vital organs. Cardiogenic shock can quickly progress to multi-organ failure and death.

Not every heart attack results in cardiogenic shock but, for those instances when it occurs, emergency treatment to improve the flow of blood and oxygen is essential.

There are various stages of cardiogenic shock. Each stage requires tailored treatments from from a team of multidisciplinary experts. These treatments may include temporary pumps that support blood flow to vital organs allowing the heart to rest and potentially recover.

Our service

The Barts Health cardiogenic shock program based on ward 6a at Barts Heart Centre provides 24/7 access to a team of experts including heart muscle specialists and specialist medical and nursing in our cardiac intensive care unit. We provide the most advanced diagnostics, monitoring and therapies, including pumps that can temporarily support the function of the heart.

Most patients with cardiogenic shock require intensive care admission to provide support for their heart, lungs and kidneys. Despite intensive care only around half of patients survive. We work closely with the regional heart transplant centres to support patients who may need a heart transplant to fully recover.

Refer a patient

For clinicians

We accept referrals from all hospitals within our catchment of North and East London and Essex, but would be happy to offer support for cases from a wider geographical area on case-by-case basis:

Other cardiology specialty referral contact numbers

These services can be contacted 24/7:

  • Interventional cardiology: 07833 237 316
  • Electrophysiology: 07810 878 450
  • Heart Failure: 07825 976 924

Our team

Service lead: Dr Alastair Proudfoot (cardiac intensive care)

  • Heart failure lead: Dr Martin Thomas
  • Interventional cardiology lead: Dr Ajay Jain
  • Surgical-lead: Professor Wael Awad
  • ECMO lead: Dr Sachin Shah
  • Nursing lead: Clare Mellis
  • Research Fellow: Dr Marie Buckel

Email the service

Our research

We have an active programme of both clinical and translational research led by consultant in critical care medicine Dr Alastair Proudfoot.

We contribute to national and international registries with opportunities for access to hypothesis driven research within these registries.

Barts Heart Centre is the host site for the GolDilOCS study, a collaboration between Barts Health, Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) and Oxford University, which is investigating genomic determinants of outcome in cardiogenic shock.

For research enquiries please contact Dr Alastair Proudfoot.

Registries and your data

What is a registry?

A registry record information about the health status and the treatments they receive. Clinical data registries typically focus on patients who share a common reason for needing healthcare. 

How do registries help patients?

There are several registries that record details about patients who suffer from cardiogenic shock. Registries are used to provide information and evidence to:

  • help doctors choose the best equipment for patients
    help understand which patients benefit the treatments and monitoring we provide
    help reduce the complications
    give regular feedback to hospitals, doctors and manufacturers about their performance

What information is collected? 

We send details about patients’:

  • medical condition(s)
  • treatments and monitoring and which equipment was used
  • procedures that were performed whilst in hospital
  • length of stay in intensive care and in hospital  
  • complications that occurred whilst in hospital 

We also send details of the patients’ age, dates of birth and gender.

We do not send the patients’ names, addresses, postcodes or NHS numbers. 

Is the information safe? 

We currently collect data in a local registry at Barts Health. We also share data with registries in Europe and North America. All information is stored securely and anonymously on secure servers. This means it is very difficult to identify individuals. The use of patient data to support registries has been approved by the Caldicott Guardian at Barts Health NHS Trust. They are the person who is responsible for ensuring that all patient data are safe.

What information does the registry provide for patients?

The registries do not give out specific information to patients or members of the public. It is designed to help healthcare professionals learn more about patients with severe heart or lung failure requiring intensive care.

Who can use the data in the registry?

Data in the registry can be used for medical research. The purpose of this research is to improve our understanding about patients with cardiogenic shock. All requests to use the data must be approved by the relevant registry committee. The committee checks that the requests have ethical approval and that the data will remain safe. Any data shared will be the minimum amount possible and anonymised. They will not know which hospital submitted the information.