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Irreversible Maternal Brain Injury During Pregnancy: A Case Report and Review of the Literature

Feldman, Deborah M. MD*; Borgida, Adam F. MD; Rodis, John F. MD; Campbell, Winston A. MD

Obstetrical & Gynecological Survey: November 2000 - Volume 55 - Issue 11 - p 708-714
CME PROGRAM: Category 1 CME Review Articles 31, 32, And 33

Maternal brain death or massive injury leading to persistent vegetative state during pregnancy is a rare event. Since 1979, 11 cases, including the current one, of irreversible maternal brain damage in pregnancy have been reported. In all but one, the pregnancies were prolonged with a goal of achieving delivery of a viable infant. Current advances in medicine and critical care enable today’s physician to offer prolonged life-support to maximize the chances for survival in the neonate whose mother is technically brain dead. We present a case at our institution and review all previously published cases in the English literature for comparison as well as make management recommendations.

Target Audience Obstetrics & Gynecologists, Family Physicians

*Clinical Instructor, †Assistant Professor, ‡Professor, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Division of Maternal-Fetal Medicine, University of Connecticut Health Center, Farmington, Connecticut

Chief Editor’s Note:

This article is the 32nd of 36 that will be published in 2000 for which a total of up to 36 Catgory 1 CME credits can be earned. Instructions for how credits can be earned appear on the last page of the Table of Contents. This CME activity is supported by an unrestricted educational grant from Procter & Gamble.

Correspondence to: Deborah M. Feldman, MD, Division of Maternal-Fetal Medicine, Administrative Contact: Bonnie Voight, University of CT Health Center, MC-2950, 263 Farmington Ave, Farmington, CT 06030–2950. Email:

Reprints not available.

The authors have disclosed no significant financial or other relationship with any commercial entity.

© 2000 by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.