Potassium chloride-induced fetal demise: A retrospective cohort study of efficacy and safety

Anna K. Sfakianaki, Katherine J. Davis, Joshua A. Copel, Nancy L. Stanwood, Heather S. Lipkind

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Objectives: Induction of fetal demise before second-trimester termination is performed for a number of reasons. One method for inducing fetal demise is via sonographically guided intracardiac potassium chloride (KCl) injection. We performed a retrospective cohort study to determine the efficacy and safety of intracardiac KCl injection as a method of second-trimester induced fetal demise. Methods: We reviewed records from patients who were referred for induced fetal demise from October 2002 to October 2011. We excluded patients undergoing selective fetal reduction in multiple gestations. Procedural complications, the dose of KCl, and the number of failed procedures were determined. Results: Of the 192 completed procedures, 191 were successful (99.5%). The median gestational age at termination was 22 weeks (range, 15.4-24.9 weeks), and most terminations were surgical (68.0%). Major indications for termination were fetal anomalies (41.6%), unwanted pregnancy (20.8%), and aneuploidy (15.7%). The median dose of KCl was 10 mL (range, 3-40 mL). We found a significant correlation between the dose of KCl and estimated fetal weight. There was no significant correlation between the dose of KCl and body mass index or gestational age. We had 1 maternal complication of a seizure after needle placement but before KCl injection. Conclusions: Intracardiac KCl injection is an effective and safe method for induced fetal demise.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)337-341
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Ultrasound in Medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Abortion
  • Fetal demise
  • Feticide
  • Obstetric ultrasound
  • Potassium chloride

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


Dive into the research topics of 'Potassium chloride-induced fetal demise: A retrospective cohort study of efficacy and safety'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this