Reproductive decisions after the diagnosis of amniotic fluid embolism.

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This study aims to describe the subsequent reproductive outcomes in women who either correctly or incorrectly were diagnosed with amniotic fluid embolism (AFE).


Medical records were obtained, abstracted and reviewed by authors with extensive experience in critical care obstetrics. Telephone interviews of all survivors were conducted to determine obstetrical and contraceptive history. A subgroup underwent further telephone interview to address subsequent reproductive decisions.


By November 2015, 116 medical records of patients diagnosed with AFE were reviewed. Patients who had undergone hysterectomy (n=26), died (n=9), or developed Sheehan's syndrome (n=1) at the time of the original event were excluded from the present analysis. Of the remaining 80 women, 30% (24/80) had subsequently conceived and 32.5% (26/80) patients or their partners had undergone permanent sterilization. At the time of this report, 66% (21/32) of registry participants were categorized to have had AFE and 34% (11/32) as not likely AFE or indeterminate.


The syndrome of AFE is over-diagnosed. Women diagnosed with AFE who survive conceive another pregnancy less frequently than US women over similar time intervals and often choose a permanent sterilization method, whether or not they actually had AFE, largely out of fear of AFE recurrence.

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