Successful Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation in the Management of Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome and Cardiopulmonary Collapse Secondary to Amniotic Fluid Embolism

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Sumon Roy
Nishit Biniwale
Venkata Pendela
Patricia Oates
Katrina Wojciechowski
Scott Feitell


Amniotic fluid embolism (AFE) is one of the most devastating complications of pregnancy that typically manifests as acute cardiopulmonary collapse during delivery or in the postpartum period. The potential role of extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) as a management technique in severe cases of AFE remains largely unknown. In this report, we present the first case, to our knowledge, of successful implementation of ECMO as a life-saving measure in a case of hemorrhagic shock due to postpartum bleeding complicated by severe AFE leading to acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) ultimately requiring tracheostomy. Hemodynamic decompensation is often rapid but transient in cases of severe AFE, and we recommend early consideration of ECMO implementation given its vital utility in these critical moments.

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