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Emergency Medicine International
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 274814, 8 pages
Review Article

Maternal Cardiac Arrest: A Practical and Comprehensive Review

1Division of Cardiology, William Osler Health System and Division of Cardiology, Department of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada L6W 3W8
2Rescu, Keenan Research Centre, Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, St. Michael’s Hospital and Division of Emergency Medicine, Department of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada M5B 1W8

Received 5 April 2013; Accepted 9 June 2013

Academic Editor: Michail Varras

Copyright © 2013 Farida M. Jeejeebhoy and Laurie J. Morrison. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Cardiac arrest during pregnancy is a dedicated chapter in the American Heart Association Guidelines for Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation and Emergency Cardiovascular Care; however, a robust maternal cardiac arrest knowledge translation strategy and emergency response plan is not usually the focus of institutional emergency preparedness programs. Although maternal cardiac arrest is rare, the emergency department is a high-risk area for receiving pregnant women in either prearrest or full cardiac arrest. It is imperative that institutions review and update emergency response plans for a maternal arrest. This review highlights the most recent science, guidelines, and recommended implementation strategies related to a maternal arrest. The aim of this paper is to increase the understanding of the important physiological differences of, and management strategies for, a maternal cardiac arrest, as well as provide institutions with the most up-to-date literature on which they can build emergency preparedness programs for a maternal arrest.