Sudden Deterioration of a Young Patient
During Elective Cesarean Section. Amniotic Fluid Embolism… or Else? – A Case Report

DOI: 10.2478/jccm-2024-0001

Sudden respiratory and circulatory collapse during or immediately after delivery, vaginal or surgical, can have many causes that can lead to poor maternal outcomes. A pregnancy-induced amniotic fluid embolism and anaphylaxis are two distinct medical conditions that appear similar clinically but have very different underlying mechanisms and treatment approaches. Amniotic fluid embolism is a rare but life-threatening obstetric emergency that leads to a systemic inflammatory response that can be easily confounded with an anaphylactic reaction. We report the case of a patient with no comorbidities or allergies before the current pregnancy that was proposed for delivery by C-Section under spinal anesthesia. After delivery of the placenta and administering the test dose of antibiotic, the patient developed sudden circulatory collapse, altered neurological status, and critical respiratory distress. At that point, the two presumed diagnoses were amniotic fluid embolism and anaphylaxis. Concurrently with the diagnostic pathway, supportive measures (intubation, mechanical ventilation, hemodynamic support) were taken. The clinical evolution was favorable, and after day three, the patient was discharged from the hospital. Our case highlights the significance of promptly distinguishing between anaphylaxis and amniotic fluid embolism to facilitate the timely management of the critical situation.

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