Severe postpartum hemorrhage occurs in 1/1000 women giving birth. This condition is often dramatic and may be life threatening. Resuscitative Endovascular Balloon Occlusion of the Aorta (REBOA) has in recent years been introduced as a novel treatment for hemorrhagic shock. We present a series of fluoroscopy-free REBOA for controlling life threatening postpartum hemorrhage.
In 2008 an ‘aortic occlusion kit’ was assembled and used in three Norwegian university hospitals. The on-call interventional radiologist (IR) was to be contacted with a response time < 30 minutes in case of life threatening PPH. Demographics and characteristics were noted from the medical records.
This retrospective study includes 36 patients treated with fluoroscopy-free REBOA for controlling severe postpartum hemorrhage in the years 2008–2015. The REBOA success rate was 100% and no patients died from REBOA related complications. Uterine artery embolization was performed in 17 (47%) patients and a hysterectomy in 16 (44%) patients. A short (11cm) introducer length was strongly associated with iliac artery thrombus formation ( ρ = 0.50, P = 0.002). In addition, there was a strong negative correlation between uterine artery embolization and hysterectomy ( ρ = -0.50, P = 0.002).
Our Norwegian experience indicates the clinical safety and feasibility of REBOA in life threatening PPH. Also, REBOA can be used in an emergency situation without the use of fluoroscopy with a high degree of technical success. It is important that safety implementation of REBOA is established, especially through limited aortic balloon occlusion time and a thorough balloon deflation regime.