The most important causes of acute collapse in pregnancy are pulmonary embolism, amniotic fluid embolism, acute coronary
syndrome, thrombosed mechanical prosthetic heart valves, acute aortic dissection, cerebrovascular incidents and anaesthetic
complications like failed intubation, anaphylaxis, and problems relating to regional or local anaesthetic agents. The management is based on supporting the different organ systems that are affected.
The diagnosis of pulmonary embolism is based on a clinical suspicion supported by certain diagnostic test. Tests like D-dimers
have their limitations and cannot be used alone to exclude the diagnosis especially when there is a high clinical suspicion. The
choice of the best diagnostic tool is based upon weighing longterm risks to both mother and foetus on the one side and delaying
the diagnosis on the other side. The management of acute coronary syndrome is based on immediate angiography and percutaneous coronary intervention. Although there are reports of the use of clopidrogel in pregnancy, there are few data on its effect on the foetus. There is no clinical evidence for fibrinolytic therapy as
a reperfusion strategy in pregnancy and it is best avoided as the risk of haemorrhage outweighs the possible benefit of treatment.
Patients with a prosthetic heart valve that present with a disappearance of the prosthetic heart sounds or a new murmur should get an urgent cardiac ultrasound to rule out a thrombosed prosthetic valve. Anaesthesia-related causes are an increasing cause of maternal morbidity and mortality.