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BACKGROUND: Spontaneous pneumothorax during pregnancy has potentially serious implications for the mother and fetus. When surgical correction is required, complex maternal physiologic alterations may significantly affect fetal well-being.

CASE: A woman underwent thoracoscopic lung resection and pleurodesis at 29 weeks of gestation. At various points during the procedure, maternal hemodynamic and respiratory consequences of anesthetic and surgical management resulted in severe fetal heart rate (FHR) decelerations and bradycardia. In each instance, physiologic manipulations based on an understanding of the likely cause of fetal hypoxia allowed correction of the FHR abnormalities without delivery.

CONCLUSION: Nonsurgical perinatal intervention based on FHR monitoring and analysis of the likely pathophysiologic abnormalities underlying fetal decelerations may allow the gravid woman to undergo complex procedures and continue the pregnancy.

(C) 2016 by The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Published by Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.