"Shock" is a serious medical condition in which poor blood flow to body tissues causes poor oxygen delivery and subsequent metabolic damage to the organs, oftentimes irreversible and leading to death. Common causes of poor blood flow are bleeding and heart failure. Because there is presently no way to directly monitor diminished blood flow, doctors monitor blood pressure, which is not a particularly good indicator of impending shock. As is well understood by medical practitioners, a drop in blood pressure is a lagging indicator because the body automatically responds to low blood flow by restricting flow to non-vital organs to maintain blood pressure and flow to the heart and brain.
Other indicators used by practitioners include low urine output or high acid levels in the blood, which are also lagging indicators of shock. Because the Pulse Flowmeter directly measures changes in blood flow, it may provide the medical team with time to respond before the onset of shock.
The device might be able to distinguish between cardiogenic shock and septic shock as pulse volume would be expected to decrease in cardiogenic shock, when peripheral blood vessels are constricting and to increase in septic shock when peripheral blood vessels are severely dilated.