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July 1, 1939


JAMA. 1939;113(1):60-61. doi:10.1001/jama.1939.02800260062016

Although the term "obstetric shock" may be variously interpreted, it seems to be without exact definition. Clinically the concept of "pure obstetric shock" excludes all cases in which the etiologic factor is known. Pathologically the essential requirement is that the patient shall have died of shock in connection with obstetrics. Postmortem investigation frequently discloses gross lesions which had not been suspected clinically and furnishes moreover a few possible clues as to the mechanism of shock. It does not explain, however, how inversion of the uterus, for example, can produce the functional disturbance known as shock.

In a study of the pathologic anatomy of obstetric shock, Sheehan1 reviewed all the fatal cases of obstetric shock seen in the Glasgow Maternity Hospital during the previous five and one-half years. The criterion of obstetric shock that was adopted is wider than that in common clinical use; that is, if the patient with