Document Detail

Perimortem cesarean delivery: its role in maternal mortality.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  22280869     Owner:  NLM     Status:  In-Data-Review    
Since Roman times, physicians have been instructed to perform postmortem cesarean deliveries to aid in funeral rites, baptism, and in the very slim chance that a live fetus might still be within the deceased mother's womb. This procedure was disliked by physicians being called to a dying mother's bedside. As births moved to hospitals, and modern obstetrics evolved, the causes of maternal death changed from sepsis, hemorrhage, and dehydration to a greater incidence of sudden cardiac arrest from medication errors or embolism. Thus, the likelihood of delivering a viable neonate at the time of a mother's death increased. Additionally, as cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) became widespread, physicians realized that during pregnancy, with the term gravid woman lying on her back, chest compressions cannot deliver sufficient cardiac output to accomplish resuscitation. Paradoxically, after a postmortem cesarean delivery is performed, effective CPR was seen to occur. Mothers were revived. Thus, the procedure was renamed the perimortem cesarean. Because brain damage begins at 5 minutes of anoxia, the procedure should be initiated at 4 minutes (the 4-minute rule) to deliver the healthiest fetus. If a mother has a resuscitatable cause of death, then her life may be saved as well by a prompt and timely cesarean delivery during CPR. Sadly, too often, we are paralyzed by the horror of the maternal cardiac arrest, and instinctively, we try CPR for too long before turning to the perimortem delivery. The quick procedure though may actually improve the situation for the mother, and certainly will save the child.
Vern L Katz
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Seminars in perinatology     Volume:  36     ISSN:  1558-075X     ISO Abbreviation:  Semin. Perinatol.     Publication Date:  2012 Feb 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2012-01-27     Completed Date:  -     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  7801132     Medline TA:  Semin Perinatol     Country:  United States    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  68-72     Citation Subset:  IM    
Copyright Information:
Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Clinical Professor, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Oregon Health and Science University, Portland, OR; Clinical Professor, Department of Human Physiology, University Oregon, Eugene, OR; Peace Health Medical Center, Oregon Health Science University, Springfield, OR.
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