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What is hemodynamic instability?

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Quick Answer

Hemodynamic instability is a term used to indicate abnormal or unstable blood pressure and can suggest inadequate arterial blood flow to organs. It can also refer to a state in which pharmacological or mechanical support is necessary to maintain adequate cardiac output or blood pressure.

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What is hemodynamic instability?
Credit: Army Medicine CC-BY 2.0

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Hemodynamics is the study of how blood moves throughout the body. Hemodynamic instability occurs when blood flow becomes compromised in any manner. If unchecked, it can lead to organ failure and eventually death. Essentially, it is the collapse of the cardiovascular system, which causes a marked drop in blood pressure and a high capillary refill time. Many things can cause hemodynamic instability; however, the actual cause does not always need to be known in order to successfully correct the issue.

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