Amniotic fluid embolism (AFE) is a rare obstetric emergency in which amniotic fluid, fetal cells, hair, or other debris enters the mother's blood stream via the placental bed of the uterus and trigger an allergic reaction. This reaction then results in cardiorespiratory (heart and lung) collapse and coagulopathy. Amniotic fluid embolism (AFE) is a pregnancy complication that causes life-threatening conditions, such as heart failure. It can affect you, your baby, or both of you.
The first stage of AFE usually includes cardiac arrest and rapid respiratory failure. Cardiac arrest occurs when your heart stops working and you lose consciousness and stop breathing. Rapid respiratory failure occurs when your lungs cannot supply enough oxygen to your blood or remove enough carbon dioxide from it.Treatment involves managing symptoms and preventing AFE from leading to coma or death. Oxygen therapy or a ventilator can help you breathe. Making sure that you are getting enough oxygen is crucial so that your baby also has enough oxygen.
Over the five years 2006-2010, there were 99 maternal deaths in Australia according to the report, Maternal deaths in Australia 2006-2010. This equates to a rate of 6.8 deaths per 100,000 women who gave birth in Australia. While lower than the rates for the previous three year reporting period 2003-2005 (8.4 deaths per 100,000 women who gave birth), and 2000-2002 (11.1 deaths per 100,000 women who gave birth), trends should be interpreted with caution due to the small numbers and the rare occurrence of these deaths.