circulatory collapse

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1. a state of extreme prostration and depression, with failure of circulation.
2. abnormal falling in of the walls of a part or organ.
circulatory collapse shock (def. 2).

cir·cu·la·to·ry col·lapse

failure of the circulation, either cardiac or peripheral.


(ko-laps') [L. collapsus, fallen into ruin]
1. A sudden exhaustion, prostration, or weakness due to decreased circulation of the blood.


Common symptoms include alterations in mental status, an inability to stand without dizziness, and/or severe generalized weakness. Physical findings include pallor, cold clammy skin, gooseflesh, a thin or thready pulse, an increased respiratory rate, tachycardia, and hypotension.

Patient care

A patent airway is maintained, the patient's head is lowered, and the lower extremities are elevated slightly in the Trendelenburg position to enhance venous return to the heart. Vital signs and level of consciousness are assessed for signs of shock or aspiration of vomitus. High concentration oxygen by a nonrebreather mask should be administered and oxygen saturation and ventilation evaluated. The patient should be kept warm but not hot. The patient's ECG should be monitored for arrhythmias, and an intravenous (IV) line should be established. If the patient is hypotensive, IV fluids should be given. The health care provider remains with the patient, briefly and calmly orienting him or her to surroundings and explaining procedures to provide reassurance of appropriate care.

2. An abnormal retraction of the walls of an organ.

cardiovascular collapse

See: cardiovascular collapse

circulatory collapse

1. Shock (1).
2. Hypoperfusion.

lung collapse

1. Atelectasis.
2. Compression of lung caused by pneumothorax, hydrothorax, or hemothorax.


Bronchial hygiene, postural drainage, and percussion are used to assist in mucus removal for those patients with atelectasis due to mucus plugging. Bronchoscopy may also be useful in these patients. Chest tubes are inserted to drain air or fluid from the pleural cavity when present.


pertaining to circulation.

circulatory arrest
see cardiac arrest.
circulatory collapse
shock; circulatory insufficiency without congestive heart failure.
circulatory failure
includes cardiac or central circulatory failure and peripheral circulatory failure. Although the mechanisms, causes and clinical syndromes are different the pathogenesis is the same, the circulatory system fails to maintain the supply of oxygen and other nutrients to the tissues and to remove the carbon dioxide and other metabolites from them. The failure may be hypovolemic, distributive.
circulatory response
changes in the cardiac and vascular functions in response to such factors as emotional stress, physical exercise, temperature change.
circulatory shock
see shock.
circulatory support
see extracorporeal circulation.
circulatory system
the major system concerned with the movement of blood and lymph; it consists of the heart and blood vessels. The circulatory system transports to the tissues and organs of the body the oxygen, nutritive substances, immune substances, hormones and chemicals necessary for normal function and activities; it also carries away waste products and carbon dioxide. It helps to regulate body temperature and helps maintain normal water and electrolyte balance.
The rate of blood flow through the vessels depends upon several factors: force of the heartbeat, rate of the heartbeat, venous return and control of the arterioles and capillaries by chemical, neural and thermal stimuli.


1. a state of extreme prostration and depression, with failure of circulation.
2. abnormal falling in of the walls of a part or organ.

circulatory collapse
shock; circulatory insufficiency without congestive heart failure.
lung collapse
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When investigated, the prosecution usually argues that the death was a result of a severe case of circulatory collapse.

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