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.
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. You also might have a pulmonary artery catheter inserted so that your doctors can monitor your heart. Medications might also be used to control your blood pressure. In many cases, several blood, platelet, and plasma transfusions are needed to replace the blood lost during the hemorrhagic phase.
Overall, in the last 10 years, AFE accounted for 1.0–2.0% of all maternal deaths in developed countries (5.3% for the United Kingdom, 6.9% for Canada, 5.1% for Australia, and 1.7% for the Italy), 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.