Woman Survives After 45 Minutes With No Pulse After Amniotic Fluid Embolism During Cesarean

In what some are calling a miracle, a Florida woman is doing well following a major complication during the cesarean birth of her baby a month ago. She had no pulse for 45 minutes, but just as the doctors were about to call her time of death, there was a beautiful blip on the heart monitor. She was alive and with no brain damage.

Ruby Graupera-Cassimiro, 40, suffered a rare amniotic fluid embolism after her newborn baby girl was born via c-section on September 23. The catastrophic obstetric emergency happens when amniotic fluid enters the mother’s bloodstream, causing shortness of breath, and subsequent cardiac and respiratory failure. One study reports that 86 percent of the cases are fatal.

Graupera-Cassimiro beat the odds. CBS reports that a spokesman for Boca Raton Regional Hospital, Thomas Chakurda, says that they called a code on her that lasted for three hours, during which the medical team attempted to revive her. They used chest compressions and shock paddles to no avail. There were 45 minutes during which the new mother had no pulse at all. Doctors called in the family to the operating room, telling them they had done all they could do. They were just about to give up and officially call her death.

Then they heard it.

A blip.

Then Ruby began to spontaneously resuscitate. She was going to live. But there was great uncertainty as to what her quality of life would be, or how much brain damage would be present due to her lack of a pulse for the better part of an hour.

The baby was healthy, but what about the mother?

“Today she is the picture of health.”

There is no brain damage at all, according to Yahoo News, in what Chakurda is calling a case of “divine providence.” The doctors have no medical explanation for what they saw happen before their eyes.

Fortunately, amniotic fluid embolism remains rare, though the incidence has increased in recent years. Marsden Wagner, MD, MS, former Director of Women’s and Children’s Health for the World Health Organization, wrote in Midwifery Today that often the dangerous complication is linked to induction of labor with the off-label use of the drug Cytotec, or misoprostol. The drug often leads to hyperstimulation of the uterus, which causes the fluid filled with flecks of vernix and other particulates to make its way into the maternal bloodstream. Once that happens, few mothers survive.

According to the Journal of Nurse-Midwifery, up to 12 percent of all maternal deaths in legal abortions may also be attributed to amniotic fluid embolism, because Cytotec, or misoprostol, is one of the drugs often used to induce abortions.

Amniotic fluid embolism occurs less often in cesarean section births. However, whenever it occurs, it is a life-threatening emergency. Florida mother Ruby Graupera-Cassimiro is very fortunate to be alive. A Yahoo! reader left a great comment on the story, which sums it up nicely.

What a great story. I bet the family is never going to take her for granted and she will most certainly not take life with her loves ones for granted as well. Best wishes with the new addition to the family.”

[image via IlluminationDilemma]