One of the most daunting challenges facing intensive care and cardiovascular specialists is the management of patients suffering from profound cardiogenic shock, a critical condition associated with a high mortality rate. These patients often require advanced support methods, such as venoarterial extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (VA-ECMO). A recent study has put the spotlight on the predictive ability of the CardShock score in such dire circumstances. Published in “Medicina intensiva” (Med Intensiva (Engl Ed)), this research offers valuable insights into the potential of this score to shape the management strategies for cardiogenic shock patients undergoing VA-ECMO.

In the field of critical cardiovascular care, predicting outcomes for patients in profound cardiogenic shock remains an essential component for guiding treatment decisions. The use of scoring systems can help clinicians stratify risk and tailor therapeutic interventions more precisely. The CardShock score, a tool designed specifically to assess risk in cardiogenic shock patients, has previously been validated in various cohorts. However, its predictive performance in the subset of patients supported by VA-ECMO had not been extensively explored until now.

A recent observational, retrospective study, led by Sánchez-Salado et al. from the Cardiological Intensive Care Unit at Hospital Universitario de Bellvitge in Barcelona, Spain, has filled this knowledge gap. The study, documented under the title “Predictive ability of the CardShock score in patients with profound cardiogenic shock undergoing venoarterial extracorporeal membrane oxygenation support,” was published in the journal “Medicina intensiva” with its DOI: 10.1016/j.medin.2019.03.003. It scrutinized the outcomes of adult patients treated with VA-ECMO for severe cardiogenic shock, evaluating the CardShock score’s prognostic accuracy in this context.

The CardShock score comprises several parameters including the patient’s age, lactate levels, etiology of the cardiogenic shock, systolic blood pressure, mental status alteration, and end-organ hypoperfusion indicators. The research team’s analysis encompassed a cohort of middle-aged and elderly patients, both male and female, who had been retrospectively identified and whose CardShock scores had been calculated at the time of VA-ECMO initiation.

The findings revealed that the CardShock score efficiently stratified patients according to their risk of mortality. It was seen that higher scores were associated with worse outcomes, thereby affirming the score’s capability to serve as a useful clinical prognosticator for this particular patient population. This insight is especially critical as VA-ECMO, an intricate and resource-intensive intervention, demands precise patient selection to optimize benefit and manage healthcare resources judiciously.

The implications of the study by Sánchez-Salado and colleagues are profound for the future management of cardiogenic shock. Given the gravity of the condition and the complex nature of ECMO therapy, the ability to accurately anticipate patient outcomes could potentially enhance survival rates by influencing decisions regarding the initiation or continuation of ECMO support, as well as other associated therapies.

The paper, while yielding significant results, acknowledges limitations inherent in its retrospective design and the relatively small patient sample. Future prospective studies are warranted to validate these findings further and incorporate them into more extensive predictive models. Moreover, there is scope for refining the CardShock score by integrating novel biomarkers and advanced imaging techniques that could further sharpen its prognostic precision.


Sánchez-Salado J.C., Lorente V., Alegre O., Llaó I., Blázquez L., Ariza-Solé A. Predictive ability of the CardShock score in patients with profound cardiogenic shock undergoing venoarterial extracorporeal membrane oxygenation support. Med Intensiva (Engl Ed). 2020 Jun-Jul;44(5):312-315. doi: 10.1016/j.medin.2019.03.003.
Additional relevant literature that supports and contextualizes the findings of this study.


1. CardShock Score ECMO
2. Cardiogenic Shock Prognosis
3. VA-ECMO Cardiac Support
4. CardShock Score Predictive Ability
5. Intensive Cardiovascular Care ECMO


The study published in “Medicina intensiva” has marked a significant stride in the realm of intensive cardiological care. Sánchez-Salado and the research team have illuminated the predictive abilities of the CardShock score in the context of VA-ECMO support, providing clinicians with an empirical basis to enhance patient stratification and management. This could lead to more personalized care strategies, potentially improving outcomes for those afflicted by severe cardiogenic shock. While future research is needed to consolidate these findings, the study serves as a promising beacon for improving prognostication and treatment in one of the most extreme cardiovascular emergencies.