Amniotic fluid embolism: pathophysiology and new strategies for management

Naohiro Kanayama, Naoaki Tamura
Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology Research 2014, 40 (6): 1507-17
The registry program of amniotic fluid embolism (AFE) in Japan started in 2003. More than 400 hundred clinical diagnosed amniotic fluid embolism has been accumulated. Those data showed that there were two etiologies of AFE: the fetal materials create physical obstructions in the maternal microvessels in various organs, such as the lung; and (ii) the liquids cause an anaphylactoid reaction that leads to pulmonary vasospasm and activation of platelets, white blood cells and/or complements. The clinical findings showed that AFE was characterized mainly by cardiopulmonary collapse, the other involves the presence of disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC) and atonic bleeding. Zinc coproporphyrin-1, sialyl Tn antigen (STN), complement C3, C4 and interleukin-8 have been used as serum markers of AFE. The levels of zinc coproporphyrin-1 and STN were increased in cardiopulmonary collapse type AFE, and a marked reduction of C3 and C4 was observed in DIC type AFE. At the primary medical institution, initial treatments for shock airway management, vascular management, fluid replacement, administration of anti-DIC therapy such as antithrombin, and administration of fresh frozen plasma should be provided. C1 esterase inhibitor activity in AFE cases was significantly lower than those of normal pregnant women. C1 esterase inhibitor may be a promising candidate of treatment of AFE.

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