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Case Report

Open Access

Life saving use of ECMO in an obstetric patient with massive hemorrhage following uterine atony: a case report


1 Department of Anesthesiology and ICU, University Hospital Rijeka, Rijeka, Croatia

2 Department of Gynecology and obstetrics, University Hospital Rijeka, Rijeka, Croatia

DOI: 10.22514/SV121.102016.22 Vol.12,Issue S1,October 2016 pp.121-124

Published: 10 October 2016

*Corresponding Author(s): ALAN ŠUSTIĆ E-mail:


The aim of this case report is to present the life saving use of extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) in an obstetric pa-tient with acute cardiorespiratory collapse following massive bleeding caused by an atonic uterus post partum. A 39-year-old patient, following a spontaneous abor-tion at 21 weeks of pregnancy, developed uterine atony and massive bleeding and was ultimately referred to the operating room for an emergent hysterectomy. Post-operatively, she was referred to the inten-sive care unit (ICU) where she developed severe acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) that was successfully treated by employing ECMO. Following discontinu-ation of ECMO, her treatment was further complicated by a manifest hemolytic trans-fusion reaction. Although extensive testing was done to establish the cause of this reac-tion, we were unable to find it. The patient responded well to treatment with erythro-poietin (EPO) and corticosteroids as well as a restrictive transfusion regime. This treatment pointed to a possible immune reaction to massive transfusions of blood products. This case demonstrated the im-portance of early aggressive treatment us-ing ECMO in reversal of life threatening ARDS, as well as the need for a judicious approach when transfusing blood prod-ucts.


ECMO (extracorporeal mem-brane oxygenation), hemorrhagic diathesis, obstetric patients

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BERISLAV BARBALIĆ,VLATKA SOTOŠEK TOKMADŽIĆ,OLEG PETROVIĆ,IRENA BOŽANIĆ KRIČKA,ALAN ŠUSTIĆ. Life saving use of ECMO in an obstetric patient with massive hemorrhage following uterine atony: a case report. Signa Vitae. 2016. 12(S1);121-124.


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