Pulmonary Embolism and Amniotic Fluid Embolism

Obstet Gynecol Clin North Am. 2022 Sep;49(3):439-460. doi: 10.1016/j.ogc.2022.02.015.


Venous thromboembolism (VTE) as well as other embolic events including amniotic fluid embolism (AFE) remain a leading cause of maternal death in the United States and worldwide. The pregnant patient is at a higher risk of developing VTE including pulmonary embolism. In contrast, AFE is a rare, but catastrophic event that remains incompletely understood. Here the authors review the cause of VTE in pregnancy and look at contemporary and evidence-based practices for the evaluation, diagnosis, and management in pregnancy. Then the cause and diagnostic difficulty of AFE as well as what is known regarding the pathogenesis are reviewed.

Keywords: Amniotic fluid embolism; Anticoagulation; Deep vein thrombosis; Diagnostic imaging; Disseminated intravascular coagulopathy; Pregnancy; Pulmonary embolism; Venous thromboembolism.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Embolism, Amniotic Fluid* / diagnosis
  • Embolism, Amniotic Fluid* / therapy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Maternal Mortality
  • Pregnancy
  • Pulmonary Embolism* / diagnosis
  • Pulmonary Embolism* / therapy
  • Venous Thromboembolism* / diagnosis
  • Venous Thromboembolism* / etiology
  • Venous Thromboembolism* / therapy