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Shock is a syndrome with serious prognostic implications--the harbinger of death. Hypoperfusion of essential organs is common, though total blood flow may be significantly greater than normal. Specific therapy is directed to the specific inciting event--infection, abscess, tamponade, &c. Symptomatic therapy keeps the patient alive until we discover the specific problem or until he recovers spontaneously. The intravascular volume must be carefully monitored and corrected, using the pulmonary wedge pressure as the principal guide, and colloid osmotic pressure must be maintained. If the patient does not respond to volume augmentation alone then inotropic drugs may be needed, and of these dopamine is a selective vasodilator which redirects blood flow to the critical organs. The outstanding challenge in shock is the maldistribution of perfusion in the microvasculature. Although this may be ameliorated by the early administration of large doses of glucocorticoids, there is little convincing that these drugs constitute more than supportive therapy. Of greatest importance is reevaluation, reevaluation, and reevaluation. The patient in shock becomes a new patient every five minutes. Drugs that formerly worked, doses previously optimal--these are no guide because the situation changes so rapidly. The principles of management are to monitor vital functions, constantly vary drugs and doses, and continually attempt to put right all the parameters measured. This strategy will be more effective when we know what parameters to measure.