Amniotic Fluid Embolism—Apropos Two Consecutive Cases


  • Presented as a poster at the 21th Congress of the International Academy of Legal Medicine, May 27–29, 2009, in Lisbon, Portugal.

Additional information and reprint requests:
Djordje Alempijević, Ph.D.
Institute of Forensic Medicine
31a Deligradska Street
Belgrade 11000


Abstract:  Amniotic fluid embolism (AFE) is a sporadic, unpredictable, and usual fatal obstetric complication. The paper deals with two cases of maternal deaths because of AFE verified by medicolegal autopsy. In both the cases, several known risk factors associated with AFE, such as increased maternal age (41 and 35 years), diabetes, augmented labor, and cesarean delivery, were identified. Clinical features were typical, including sudden onset of cardiovascular and respiratory symptoms. In the patient who survived longer, both clinical and autopsy signs of disseminated intravascular coagulopathy were present, while they were absent in the case where death occurred rapidly. This paper describes briefly the particular features to look for at autopsy and stresses the importance of histology examination and staining techniques.