Fetal and neonatal outcomes following maternal aortic balloon occlusion for hemorrhage in pregnancy: A review of the literature

Christina M. Theodorou, Tanya Rinderknecht, Eugenia Girda, Joseph M. Galante, Rachel M. Russo

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


BACKGROUND: Hemorrhage is a leading cause of maternal death worldwide, with increased risk in women with abnormal placentation. Aortic balloon occlusion (ABO), including resuscitative endovascular balloon occlusion, has been used for obstetrical hemorrhage for 20 years, and is associated with decreased operative blood loss, fewer transfusions, and lower rates of hysterectomy. However, the effect of aortic occlusion on fetal/neonatal outcomes is not well known. METHODS: A literature review on ABO for obstetrical or traumatic hemorrhage was performed. Cases were included if fetal/neonatal outcomes were reported. Data were collected on timing of balloon inflation (predelivery or postdelivery), fetal/neonatal mortality, and Apgar scores. Secondary maternal outcomes included blood loss, need for hysterectomy, ABO-related complications, and mortality. RESULTS: Twenty-one reports of ABO in 825 cases of obstetrical hemorrhage were reviewed (nine case reports/series and twelve comparative studies). 13.5% (111/825) had aortic occlusion prior to delivery of the fetus. Comparative cohorts included 448 patients who underwent iliac artery balloon occlusion (n = 219) or no vascular balloon occlusion (n = 229). The most common neonatal outcome reported was Apgar scores, with no difference in fetal/neonatal outcomes between ABO and non-ABO patients in any study. One neonatal mortality occurred in the sole reported case of ABO use in a pregnant trauma patient at 24 weeks gestation. One maternal mortality occurred because of aortic dissection. Five comparative studies reported significantly decreased blood loss in ABO patients compared to non-ABO patients, and four studies reported significantly lower rates of hysterectomy in ABO patients. ABO-related complications were reported in 1.6% of patients (13/825). CONCLUSION: Obstetrical hemorrhage is a devastating complication, and ABO may potentially decrease blood loss and reduce the hysterectomy rate without compromising fetal and neonatal outcomes. Further research is needed to determine the safety of predelivery aortic occlusion as this occurred in 14% of the cases. (J Trauma Acute Care Surg. 2022;92: e10–e17.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E10-E17
JournalJournal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2022


  • Aortic occlusion
  • Maternal hemorrhage
  • Neonatal outcomes
  • Resuscitative endovascular balloon occlusion of the aorta

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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