Resuscitative Hysterotomy

This weeks’ case was written by Dr. Amy Hildreth who is an emergency physician and assistant program director for the EM residency at Naval Medical Centre in San Diego.

Why it Matters

Resuscitative hysterotomy is fortunately a rare procedure, however, as with other high impact, low occurrence procedures in emergency medicine, it can be life saving! Equally as important as the procedure itself are the crisis resource management (CRM) components involved in managing two critically ill patients; the mother and the baby.

This case was designed to highlight the management of a pregnant trauma patient, the procedure of resuscitative hysterotomy, and the CRM principles involved. It is not for the faint of heart!

Clinical Vignette

A 30 y/o female was found unresponsive in an SUV that rolled over after being side swiped on the highway going approximately 70 mph (~110kph). The patient has a large, gravid abdomen and, as she was wheeled into the resuscitation bay, the pulse was lost.

Case Summary

The team receives advance notification from EMS about a 30 year-old female who is visibly pregnant and was in a car accident. Upon arrival to the ED the patient loses pulses and CPR begins. The team must begin ACLS/ATLS and proceed to resuscitative hysterotomy. After delivery they should begin neonatal resuscitation and continue management of the mother.  Early consultation should be made to trauma surgery, NICU, and OB. 

Download the case here: Resuscitative Hysterotomy