Autopsy and Case Reports
Autopsy and Case Reports
Original Article

Amniotic fluid embolism: lessons for rapid recognition and intervention

Larry Nichols; Rema Elmostafa; Angela Nguyen; Keisha R. Callins

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  Amniotic fluid embolism is a rare, often fatal complication of labor and delivery. The classic presentation is the sudden onset of a triad of clinical manifestations: hypoxia, hypotension and coagulopathy. Understanding of the syndrome as an immunologically mediated, complicated and often catastrophic maternal response to fetal or placental antigens is coming into focus. New treatments such as extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) and better use of old treatments such as transfusion offer hope, but the condition is often rapidly fatal, so saving the maternal and fetal lives depends on rapid recognition of the syndrome. This series of three cases illustrates the clinical features enabling the rapid recognition needed for successful treatment of amniotic fluid embolism syndrome.


Amniotic fluid embolism, Maternal mortality, Autopsy, Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation


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