Multiple organ dysfunction syndrome (MODS) has the potential to negatively affect obstetric outcomes of critically ill maternity patients. This pathophysiologic condition may often be indistinguishable from that which occurs during normal pregnancy. The normal adaptations of pregnancy, in their exaggerated form, may cause functional change to become dysfunctional in the maternal patient. Although pregnancy is considered a state of health, MODS is a grave condition with terminal outcomes. Regional perfusion deficits in oxygen and global defects of volume are two potential pathologic sequelae. Many general medical and obstetric causes may be identified. An exaggerated systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS) precedes this patterned process of death. This article will apply current theories, assessment, and treatment practices of MODS to the obstetrical populace.
Perinatal Clinical Nurse Specialist and Consultant, Clinical Nurse Specialists & Associates, Virginia Beach, Virginia
Submitted for publication: September 30, 2001
Accepted for publication: November 25, 2001