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Surveillance of Cardiac Arrest in Pregnancy

Principal investigator
Virginia Beckett (Bradford Royal Infirmary)
Paul Sharpe (Leicester Hospitals NHS Trust), Marian Knight (NPEU)
Severe maternal morbidity and mortality
Wellbeing of Women
Start year
End year
NPEU Contact
Marian Knight


Cardiac arrest in pregnancy affects around 1:30 000 women; incidence is thought to be rising due to the increasing age and morbidity of the antenatal population in the UK. The risk of death for mother and child is extremely high but some causes of cardiac arrest are reversible. Aggressive resuscitation is required, including caesarean section in most cases over 20 weeks gestation. The importance of rapid delivery after cardiac arrest for maternal benefit is becoming a widely accepted practice and there is evidence to suggest that MOET (Managing Obstetric Emergencies & Trauma) training in obstetric resuscitation is leading to an increase in the use of peri-mortem caesarean section (PMCS) in maternal cardiac arrest in the UK and in Europe. In the UK 52 cases of PMCS were recorded between 2003-2005 amongst women who subsequently died.

There is, however, minimal information on survivors of cardiac arrest or PMCS. This study will investigate the incidence, management (including PMCS) and outcomes of maternal cardiac arrest including both women who survive and women who die. This information will be used to establish optimal management guidelines to improve survival of mother and infant. Data analysis is now in progress.