The haemostatic management of major obstetric haemorrhage remains challenging, and current published guidance relies heavily on experience from the non-pregnant population and expert opinion. In recent years, an interest in the implications of relative hypofibrinogenaemia, point-of-care monitoring of coagulation abnormalities, and the potential to give goal-directed therapy to correct coagulopathies, have created the possibility of significantly challenging and changing guidance. There is evidence that the haemostatic impairment in the pregnant population is different from trauma-induced bleeding, and the type and rate of onset of coagulopathies differ depending on the underlying cause. This review examines areas such as possible intervention points, describes evidence for over-transfusion of fresh frozen plasma in some situations and challenges conventional thinking on formulaic management. It also examines the rationale for other therapeutic options, including fibrinogen concentrate and tranexamic acid.
© 2014 The Association of Anaesthetists of Great Britain and Ireland.