Our Research

One of the primary objectives of the AFE Foundation is to advance research of amniotic fluid embolism (AFE) to better understand what causes an AFE. Through this understanding we hope to establish more effective treatments, devise a mechanism for predictability, establish a gold standard diagnosis, and ultimately save the lives of mothers and their babies.   

In 2012, the AFE Foundation joined into a formal collaboration with Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas to establish the Amniotic Fluid Embolism Registry. The registry is a secure database of medical information, family history, and other related medical and non-medical information gleaned from medical records and interviews from patients and surviving family members. This comprehensive collection of information allows for deeper understanding into individual cases of AFE and allows researchers the ability to gather vital information on the efficacy of treatments, the reproductive and long-term health of survivors of AFE, and serves as a basis for clinical research.

In 2019, Wayne State University and the Perinatology Research Branch of the National Institute of Health (NIH) joined our research efforts and established a biorepository where samples of blood, tissue, cells, DNA, RNA, and protein from cases of AFE are stored and studied.  

Our research efforts have gained international recognition. Our registry is the largest database of AFE cases ever amassed and has resulted in 11 abstracts and publications. These publications have been cited in over 150 other research papers spanning over 10 countries.  

One of our most successful endeavors was helping establish a uniform diagnostic criteria to be used for research publication purposes. The intent is to help focus efforts on publications where all of the included cases meet the classic definition of AFE which includes the presence of hemodynamic and respiratory compromise accompanied by strictly defined disseminated intravascular coagulopathy. It is our hope that by limiting research reports involving amniotic fluid embolism to women who meet these criteria will enhance the validity of published data and assist in the identification of risk factors, effective treatments, and possibly useful biomarkers for this condition. 

Published Abstracts and Articles:

Clark SL, Romero R, Dildy GA, Callaghan WM, Smiley RM, Bracey AW, Hankins GD, D’Alton ME, Foley M, Pacheco LD, Vadhera RB, Herlihy JP, Berkowitz RL, Belfort MA. Proposed diagnostic criteria for the case definition of amniotic fluid embolism in research studies. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2016 Oct;215(4):408-12. doi: 10.1016/j.ajog.2016.06.037. Epub 2016 Jun 29. PMID: 27372270; PMCID: PMC5072279.

IA Stafford, GA Dildy, Miranda Klassen, et al. (2020) Amniotic fluid embolism syndrome: Analysis of the United States International Registry. American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology MFM.

Stafford, I., Clark, S., Klassen, M., et al. (2020) Differences in clinical presentation and outcomes between women with typical versus atypical amniotic fluid embolism. American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology, Volume 221, Issue 1 , S223-S224 (331)

Pacheco, Luis D, Clark, SL, Klassen, M., Hankins, G. (2020) Amniotic fluid embolism: principles of early clinical management. American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

Berra, Alexandra L., Klassen, M., Stafford, IA. et al (2019) The prevalence of placenta previa in pregnancies complicated by amniotic fluid embolism. American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology, Volume 220 , Issue 1 , S101 – S102 (130)

Stafford, IA, Amirhossein M., Dildy, G., Klassen, M., Belfort, MA., Romero, R., Clark, SL. (2019) Evaluation of proposed criteria for research reporting of amniotic fluid embolism. American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology, Volume 220, Issue 3, 285-287

Stafford, IA, Klassen, M. (2018) Diagnostic precision of proposed criteria for research reporting of amniotic fluid embolism. American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology, Volume 218 , Issue 1 , S122 – S123 (180)

Stafford, IA, Klassen, M. (2018) The misdiagnosis of amniotic fluid embolism. American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology, Volume 218 , Issue 1 , S122 (179)

Stafford, IA, Klassen, M. (2018) The risk of amniotic fluid embolism recurrence in subsequent pregnancy American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology, Volume 218 , Issue 1 , S121 (177)

Amirhossein Moaddab, Miranda Klassen, Steven L. Clark, Gary A. Dildy Reproductive decisions after the diagnosis of amniotic fluid embolism. European Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Reproductive Biology 211 33–36, 2017

G. Dildy, A. Moaddab, M. Klassen. Reproductive decision after the diagnosis of amniotic fluid embolism [abstract]. In: Society Maternal Fetal Medicine 36th Annual Pregnancy Meeting. Feb 1-5, Atlanta, GA AJOG; 2016 (812)

Other Notable Articles Mentioning Our Organization and Foundation

Clark SL. Amniotic fluid embolism. Obstet Gynecol. 2014 Feb;123(2 Pt 1):337-348. doi: 10.1097/AOG.0000000000000107. PMID: 24402585.




Each case of AFE holds vital information that can help solve the mystery of this devastating birth complication. If you or someone you know has been affected by AFE, please participate.

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The AFE Foundation is entirely funded by donations. Every dollar goes directly toward our support, research, and education programs. We are committed to turning donations into action, including yours.