NYMC Faculty Publications


Complex Pathology and Management in the Obstetric Patient: A Narrative Review for the Anesthesiologist

Author Type(s)


First Page


Last Page


Document Type

Review Article

Publication Date





Pregnant patients may present with multiple complex comorbidities that can affect peripartum management and anesthetic care. The preanesthesia clinic is the ideal setting for early evaluation of high-risk pregnant patients. Comorbidities may include cardiovascular pathology such as valvular abnormalities, septal defects, aortopathies, arrythmias and cardiomyopathies. Additional comorbidities include pulmonary conditions such as obstructive sleep apnea as well as preexisting neuromuscular and skeletal disorders that may impact anesthetic management. Hematologic conditions involving both bleeding diathesis and thrombophilias may present unique challenges for the anesthesiologist. Patients may also present with endocrinopathies including diabetes and obesity. While not as common, high-risk patients may also have preexisting gastrointestinal conditions such as liver dysfunction, renal failure, and even post-transplant status. Ongoing and prior substance abuse, obstetric conditions such as placenta accreta spectrum disorders, and fetal conditions needing ex utero Intrapartum treatment also require advanced planning. Preanesthesia evaluations also help address important ethical and cultural considerations. Counseling patients regarding anesthetic considerations as well as addressing concerns will play a role in reducing racial and ethnic disparities. Anticipatory guidance by means of pre-anesthetic planning can facilitate multidisciplinary communication and planning. This can allow for an impactful and meaningful role in the care provided, allowing for safe maternal care and optimal outcomes.