What is compensated shock?
In early shock, various physiologic changes allow continued delivery of oxygen and nutrients to the heart, kidneys, brain, and other vital organs. Tachycardia is usually the first compensatory mechanism. The increased heart rate helps to maintain cardiac output in the face of low blood volume, excessive vasodilation, or pump failure. Increased vasomotor tone shunts blood away from the skin and the extremities to more vital organs. This is manifested as mottling and decreased capillary refill time. In compensated shock, the patient is able to continue to meet his or her metabolic demand, even if only marginally.