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.
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.In many cases, several blood, platelet, and plasma transfusions are needed to replace the blood lost during the hemorrhagic phase.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.
In developing countries, the reported maternal mortality ratios ranged between 1.8–5.9 per 100,000 deliveries. Overall, in the last 10 years, AFE accounted for 5.0–15.0% of all maternal deaths in developed countries (5.3% for the United Kingdom, 10.9% for Canada, 13.1% for Australia, and 13.7% for the United States), being the leading cause of maternal death in Australia, the second cause of maternal death in the United States, the third cause of maternal death in France and Poland, and the second cause of direct maternal death in the United Kingdom. In China, regional studies reported that AFE was the second cause of maternal death.