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Year : 2013  |  Volume : 3  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 220-224

A brain-dead pregnant woman with prolonged somatic support and successful neonatal outcome: A grand rounds case with a detailed review of literature and ethical considerations

1 Department of Critical Care Medicine, Tawam Hospital, Al Ain, United Arab Emirates
2 Department of Pharmacy, Tawam Hospital, Al Ain, United Arab Emirates

Correspondence Address:
Abuhasna Said
Department of Critical Care Medicine, Tawam Hospital, Al Ain
United Arab Emirates
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/2229-5151.119205

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There are increased reports in the medical literature of brain death during pregnancy. In these rare cases, the decision was either to consider discontinuing homeostatic support and mechanical ventilation with an understanding that the fetus then will also die, or to continue full support in an attempt to prolong pregnancy for the purpose of maintaining the fetus alive until maturity. We report the first case in the United Arab Emirates and in literature of somatic support that extended up to 110 days with the successful delivery of a viable fetus. A 35-year-old woman suffered intracranial hemorrhage during the 16 th week of pregnancy that lead to brain death despite maximal surgical and medical management. Upon confirmation of this diagnosis, the patient received full ventilatory and homeostatic support required to prolong gestation and improve the survival prognosis of her fetus. The status of the patient was discussed in a multidisciplinary approach and with the full involvement of her family. Somatic support continued until the patient was 32 of weeks gestation. Obstetric complications of the patient were frequently assessed and managed. Lower segment cesarean section (LSCS) was then performed. A preterm male in breech presentation was delivered with an average weight of 750 gm, and an Apgar score of 6, 7, and 9 at 1, 5, and 10 minutes, respectively. Prolonging somatic support in a pregnant woman with brain death to allow fetal survival resulted in a successful outcome in terms of saving the life of the fetus. The results are consistent with previous published case reports in the literature on the appropriateness and safety of such a strategy that involved an intensive multidisciplinary approach. Despite being a tragedy, maternal death can represent an opportunity to save the life of the fetus and for organ donation. Consensus future recommendations that can guide the management of similar conditions may also be adapted, especially with the growing medical experience in this context.

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