The ICU Is Becoming a Main Battlefield for Severe Maternal Rescue in China: An 8-Year Single-Center Clinical Experience

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To review the characteristics of and to identify the reasons for severe maternal admissions to the ICU.


This was an analytical, observational, open, and retrospective study.


In our ICU.


A total of 487 severe maternal cases were reviewed during the 8-year study period of January 2009 to December 2016.



Measurements and Main Results:

A total of 487 severe maternal cases (12.6%) among the 3,867 patients admitted to ICU were reviewed. Of these, 361 patients were admitted for obstetric reasons, mainly pregnancy-induced hypertension (58.7%) and postpartum hemorrhage (36.8%). The remaining 126 patients were admitted for nonobstetric reasons, including cardiac-related disease (31.0%), immune-related disease (24.6%), and sepsis (20.6%). A total of 249 patients experienced combined comorbidities: the most common was a scarred uterus (100 patients; 40.2%), followed by endocrine-related disease (25.3%), immune-related disease (21.3%), and cardiac-related disease (18.1%). Central venous insertion (90.6%) was the most common intervention, followed by arterial catheter insertion (33.7%), mechanical ventilation (11.7%), blood purification (5.7%), and invasive hemodynamic monitoring (3.7%). Nine patients died during the study period, of which the death of four could have been avoided.


The number of severe maternal cases has increased annually in our ICU. Although obstetric causes remained the most common reason for admission, the nonobstetric causes and basic complications were too complex, dangerous, and beyond the reach of the obstetrician with regard to monitoring and treatment. We call for a multidisciplinary team mainly composed of ICU staff to improve severe maternal outcomes.

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