Sudden maternal deaths from amniotic fluid embolism

K Nadesan, P Jayalakshmi
Ceylon Medical Journal 1997, 42 (4): 185-9
Sudden maternal death from amniotic fluid embolism is a rare but serious complication which usually occurs during late pregnancy, often during labour or shortly after, with more than 80% mortality. Such a death causes immense stress to both the relatives and the attending doctors as it is sudden and unexpected. Three such deaths are discussed here. Traditionally, it was believed that this complication usually occurred in prolonged and difficult labour, but there is evidence contrary to this, and it is not possible to predict when and where this fatal complication will occur. Current views and various pathophysiologic mechanisms leading to the fatal outcome are also discussed.

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