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BACKGROUND: Amniotic fluid embolism (AFE) is a rare, often severe complication of pregnancy. The clinical diagnosis is difficult to establish and is one of exclusion. The aim of this study was to investigate 6 fatal cases of AFE in Slovakia and compare the incidence, risk factors, course, management and neonatal outcomes with fatal cases of AFE in the United Kingdom (UK). MATERIALS AND METHODS: Data on fatal cases of AFE in Slovakia were analysed and compared with fatal cases in the UK in the years 2005-2010. RESULTS: The incidence in Slovakia was significantly higher than in the UK from 2005-2010 (RR 5.03, 95% CI 1.98-12.75, P=0.003). However, 5/6 deaths occurred in 2009 coinciding with the H1N1 flu virus pandemic in Slovakia. There were no significant differences in the characteristics of women who died, with the exception of gestational age at delivery; significantly higher in Slovakia (median 41 versus 39 weeks, P=0.01). In Slovakia most of the cases occurred after delivery, 83.3%, compared with 52.9% in the UK. There were no significant differences in clinical signs, use of recombinant factor VIIa or performance of obstetric hysterectomy. In Slovakia 83.3% and in the UK 94.7% of infants survived, but 20% and 27.8% had some long-term sequelae. CONCLUSION: AFE is now the leading cause of maternal deaths in Slovakia. However, we found no significant differences in the possible risk factors, course, management or outcomes between Slovakia and the UK. This analysis is limited by study power; we propose that establishment of a national register of cases of AFE in Slovakia would help further investigate and monitor mortality from this condition.

Original publication




Journal article


Biomed Pap Med Fac Univ Palacky Olomouc Czech Repub

Publication Date





397 - 403


Adult, Embolism, Amniotic Fluid, Female, Humans, Incidence, Maternal Mortality, Pregnancy, Pregnancy Outcome, Risk Factors, Slovakia, United Kingdom