Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Idioms, Wikipedia.
acute vascular insufficiency accompanied by a fall in arterial and venous blood pressure.
Collapse is a result of a disturbance of the regulation of vascular tonus and injury to the vascular walls through infection, intoxication, massive blood loss, severe dehydration, myocardial affection (acute myocardial infarction), and other pathological conditions. Collapse is characterized by a decrease of blood flow to the heart, a deterioration of the blood supply to the vital organs, and the development of hypoxia. The patient’s facial features become pinched and the eyes roll back. He becomes pallid, with sticky perspiration and cold extremities. If the patient is conscious, he lies immobile and indifferent to his surroundings. Breathing is superficial and accelerated. The pulse is rapid. The most accurate index of the gravity of the patient’s condition is the degree to which arterial pressure is lowered. Severe collapse may be a direct cause of death. Collapse is treated with the immediate use of agents that stimulate the vascular and respiratory centers and with vasoconstrictors, blood transfusions, and blood substitutes. Measures should also be directed toward the elimination of the primary causes of the collapse.