Amniotic fluid embolism (AFE) is a catastrophic disease with significant mortality. Because the cardiopulmonary dysfunction associated with AFE is self-limited, the disease could be well suited to the use of extracorporeal therapies.
A woman progressed into cardiac arrest immediately after an elective cesarean delivery. Owing to severe hypoxemia and hypotension, AFE was suspected and peripheral venoarterial extracorporeal membrane oxygenation was quickly initiated. Subsequent evolution was complicated by intrabdominal bleeding, which required massive transfusion and multiple surgeries. The patient recovered well, with a healthy newborn. We have identified 19 similar cases in the literature and present their outcomes as a series.
Extracorporeal therapies can support severely ill women affected by AFE and could be considered even in the presence of disseminated intravascular coagulation and bleeding.