A rapid fall in blood pressure occurs in anaphylactic shock as a result of a severe allergic reaction (usually to bee stings or penicillin). This results from the widespread release of histamine, which causes vasodilation and thus decreases total peripheral resistance. A rapid fall in blood pressure also occurs in neurogenic shock, in which sympathetic tone is decreased, usually because of upper spinal cord damage or spinal anesthesia. Car-diogenic shock results from cardiac failure, as defined by a cardiac output inadequate to maintain tissue perfusion. This commonly results from infarction that causes the loss of a significant proportion of the myocardium.
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