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J Perinat Med. 2014 Jan;42(1):19-26. doi: 10.1515/jpm-2013-0140.

Maternal mortality due to pandemic influenza A H1N1 2009 virus in Colombia.



The 2009 H1N1 pandemic illustrated the higher morbidity and mortality from viral infections in peripartum women. We describe clinical features of women who recently died of H1N1 in Colombia.


This is a case series study that was gathered through a retrospective record review of all maternal H1N1 deaths in the country. The national mortality database of confirmed mortality from H1N1 in pregnancy and up to 42 days after delivery was reviewed during the H1N1 season in 2009. Women with H1N1 infections were confirmed by the laboratory of virology. Demographic, clinical, and laboratory data were reviewed. Statistical analyses were performed and median values of non-parametric data were reported with inter-quartile range (IQR).


A total of 23 H1N1 maternal deaths were identified. Eighty-three percent occurred in the third trimester. None of the mothers who died had received influenza vaccination. The median time from symptom onset to the initiation of antiviral treatment was 8.8 days (IQR 5.8-9.8). Five fatalities did not receive any anti-viral therapy. Median PaO2/FiO2 on day 1 was 80 (IQR, 60-98.5). All patients required inotropic support and mechanical ventilation with barotrauma-related complications of mechanical ventilation occurring in 35% of patients.


In Colombia, none of the women suffering H1N1-related maternal deaths had received vaccination against the disease and most had delayed or had no anti-viral therapy. Given the lack of evidence-based clinical predictors to identify women who are prone to die from H1N1 in pregnancy, following international guidelines for vaccination and initiation of antiviral therapy in suspected cases would likely improve outcomes in developing countries.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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