UMEM Educational Pearls

Category: Cardiology

Title: cardiac arrest in pregnancy

Posted: 2/15/2009 by Amal Mattu, MD (Updated: 8/15/2022)
Click here to contact Amal Mattu, MD

Although intubation, oxygenation, and ventilation have been downplayed in recent years in the early management of patients with cardiac arrest, late-term pregnant patients DO require early airway support. Paients in the later stages of pregnancy have increased oxygen consumption and therefore have much lower oxygen reserves than non-pregnant patients. As a result, they tend to have central circulation desaturation much sooner. Additionally, they are at higher risk for aspiration because of delayed gastric emptying and lower esophageal sphincter relaxation. "This need for rapid intubation is a key difference between the pregnant women in cardiac arrest and nonpregnant patients." [reference: Atta E, Gardner M. Cardiopulmonary resuscitation in pregnancy. Obstet Gynecol Clin N Am 2007;34:585-597.]