What is Amniotic Fluid Embolism?
With Kayleigh’s experience, more people got curious about AFE.
Embolism happens when an object, like air, blood clot, or other foreign matter, becomes stuck in the blood vessel and causes an interruption in blood flow.
Interestingly, amniotic fluid embolism is unlike the other embolisms we are familiar with.
You see, the amniotic fluid is soluble in blood, so it is unlikely to become stuck in the vessels. Additionally, fetal materials are usually so small they wouldn’t cause any blockage.
Instead, AFE occurs when the amniotic fluid and other fetal materials, like cells and hair, escape into the maternal bloodstream, causing cardiovascular collapse and endangering the lives of both mother and child.
What Causes The Heart to Shut Down in AFE?
Many mothers have amniotic fluid and fetal material in their circulation during labor or delivery, but they do not experience cardiovascular collapse.
So, what exactly causes the heart to shut down in amniotic fluid embolism?
Experts believe it’s due to a severe allergic reaction to the amniotic fluid and fetal cells. However, they do not yet understand why some women develop this extreme reaction while others don’t.