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Woman had suffered from an amniotic fluid embolism, organ failure and cardiac arrest during a Caesarean section

Groundbreaking procedure saves Israeli woman during childbirth

Patient suffering from rare pregnancy complication brought back from clinical death, wakes up after month, sees her baby girl

Illustrative photo of an operating room. (Nati Shohat/Flash90)
Illustrative photo of an operating room. (Nati Shohat/Flash90)

A 43-year-old woman who was brought back from clinical death during childbirth last month in a groundbreaking procedure woke up and saw her healthy baby girl for the first time.

The woman was the first patient in Israel to be saved by the procedure, performed by doctors at the Beilinson Hospital in Petah Tikva, after she suffered from an amniotic fluid embolism, organ failure and cardiac arrest during a Caesarean section surgery.

The woman was resuscitated and connected to an extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) life-support machine that provided oxygen to her heart and lungs. She then underwent surgery to remove a clot from her lung. Only a few hospitals in Israel have an ECMO machine.

Last week, her condition improved significantly, and the woman was disconnected from the ECMO machine. The instance is one of only a few cases in the world where a woman suffering from this condition was saved.

The head of the women’s unit at Beilinson, Arnon Vizhnitzer, said that approximately two women die every year in Israel from amniotic fluid embolism, Hebrew news site Ynet reported Tuesday.

“The rare complication of amniotic fluid embolism endangered the life of the woman giving birth. We are proud that we succeeded in saving her life,” said Vizhnitzer.

“I hope that because of this breakthrough, lives of additional pregnant women in Israel will be saved,” added Dan Arvut, head of cardiothoracic surgery at Beilinson.

Amniotic fluid embolism is a rare but life-threatening condition in which amniotic fluid or other fetal material enter the mother’s bloodstream, resulting in a severe allergic reaction. The reaction then results in heart and lung collapse and a failure of the blood to clot, threatening the life of both the mother and the child.

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