Induced Labor Doubles Risk of Amniotic-Fluid Embolism

Absolute risk of rare complication is low

FRIDAY, Oct. 20 (HealthDay News) -- Women who have their labor induced are twice as likely to develop an amniotic-fluid embolism as their counterparts who don't have a medically induced labor, according to the results of a study published in the Oct. 21 issue of The Lancet.

Michael S. Kramer, M.D., of McGill University in Montreal, Canada, and colleagues studied 180 amniotic-fluid embolisms (24 of which were fatal) that occurred among 2,984,977 single births. The total rate was six amniotic-fluid embolisms per 100,000 deliveries with a fatality rate of 0.8 per 100,000 deliveries.

Women who had their labor induced were twice as likely to experience an amniotic-fluid embolism and fatal cases were 3.5 times more frequent among this group. While the absolute risk for this complication remains low, induction rates have been increasing, the researchers note.

Other risk factors for amniotic-fluid embolism include advanced maternal age, uterine rupture or laceration, placenta previa or abruption, C-section or instrumental vaginal delivery, polyhydramnios and eclampsia, the study showed.

"The researchers have identified definitively the association of medical induction of labor with amniotic-fluid embolism, and delineated the small but important effect this association can have on future obstetric patients ," Jason Moore, M.D., of the University of Pittsburgh, writes in an accompanying editorial.

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