Intractable Rare Dis Res. 2014;3(3):97-99. (DOI: 10.5582/irdr.2014.01016)

Amniotic Fluid Embolism (AFE) in China: Are maternal mortality and morbidity preventable?

Mo XT, Feng AH, Liu XY, Tobe RG


A case of hospital-patient conflict has occurred in China that has lifted billows in the public and highlighted the lethality of amniotic fluid embolism (AFE). AFE is a rare but severe obstetric complication with high maternal mortality and morbidity. Globally, the incidence of AFE is estimated to be approximately 2 to 6 per 100,000 deliveries. The maternal mortality rate (MMR) attributable to AFE ranges between 0.5 to 1.7 deaths per 100,000 deliveries in the developed world and 1.9 to 5.9 deaths per 100,000 deliveries in the developing world. In developed countries, AFE often accounts for a leading cause of maternal mortality; whereas the proportion of maternal death caused by AFE tends to be not as dominant compared to common perinatal complications in developing countries. With the mechanism remaining to be elucidated, AFE can neither be predicted nor prevented even in developed countries. Treatment requires a set of highly intensive advanced emergency obstetric care, challenging obstetric care in developing countries. Although this complication is currently far from preventable, China has potential to improve the prognosis of AFE by strengthening the emergency obstetric care system.

KEYWORDS: Amniotic Fluid Embolism (AFE), maternal mortality, obstetric complication, China

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