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Heparin and other anticoagulants in amniotic fluid embolism (AFE): Literature review and concept of the therapy

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DOI: 10.4236/ojog.2013.37106    3,010 Downloads   4,969 Views  

ABSTRACT

Aim: The objective of this study is to review all the reported outcomes of heparin application in amniotic fluid embolism (AFE) so far and to find out why, when and how heparin or other anticoagulants should be used in AFE. Material and methods: We searched Medline (from 1969 to 2011), using two key words: 1) amniotic fluid embolism; 2) amniotic fluid embolism and heparin. The search for the former produced 1127 replies, of which 208 were case reports of AFE. In response to the other key word, there were 94 articles. We looked through all the articles, selecting those relevant for our study. Results: In the years 1969-2011, 208 AFE cases were reported. Heparin (unfractionated heparin) or low molecular weight heparin (LMWH) was applied in 20 cases (9.6%), being the main drug in 11 cases (5.3%) and in 6 cases as a component of spectacular treatment of AFE (surgical treatment and extracorporal membrane oxygenation). In one of these cases anithrombin (AT) with LMWH was used. In one patient heparin therapy was considered to be unsuccessful and hence recombinant plasminogen activator (rt-PA) was instituted. All the patients survived. Conclusions: 1) The attempts to use heparin in AFE could be defined as promising, although the number of treated patients is too small for conclusion; 2) The postulate to use heparin at the very onset of AFE (a bolus of 10,000 U followed by monitored intravenous infusion) has serious justification: one of the pathways of AFE is the target for heparin (coagulation pathway).

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Cite this paper

Uszyński, M. and Uszyński, W. (2013) Heparin and other anticoagulants in amniotic fluid embolism (AFE): Literature review and concept of the therapy. Open Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, 3, 593-598. doi: 10.4236/ojog.2013.37106.

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