Skip to Content
Medical Term:


Pronunciation: shok


  1. The condition in which the cells of the body receive inadequate amounts of oxygen secondary to changes in perfusion; most commonly secondary to blood loss or sepsis.
  2. A sudden physical or biochemical disturbance that results in inadequate blood flow and oxygenation of an animal's vital organs.
  3. A state of profound mental and physical depression consequent to severe physical injury or to emotional disturbance.
  4. A state characterized by inadequacy of blood flow throughout the body to the extent that damage occurs to the cells of the tissues; if the shock is prolonged, the cardiovascular system itself becomes damaged and begins to deteriorate, resulting in a vicious cycle that leads to death.

See: diastolic shock, systolic shock

[Fr. choc, fr. Germanic]

© Copyright 2016 Wolters Kluwer. All Rights Reserved. Review Date: Sep 19, 2016.