Stunned myocardium may occur after an episode of prolonged or transient ischemia. This phenomenon can occur in a variety of patient groups including medical, surgical, neurologic, and cardiac patients. In the stunned myocardium, myocardial contractility is temporarily depressed, causing symptoms similar to those of cardiogenic shock. When critical care nurses are familiar with the clinical characteristics and risk factors of stunned myocardium, they can start the appropriate interventions and left ventricular function returns to normal within days with no residual hypokinesis. Critical care nurses play a key role in assisting surgeons and other noncardiac physicians in the diagnosis and care of the patient with stunned myocardium.

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