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Korean J Anesthesiol. 2010 Dec;59 Suppl:S172-5. doi: 10.4097/kjae.2010.59.S.S172. Epub 2010 Dec 31.

Fatal pulmonary embolism caused by thrombosis of contralateral axillary vein after arthroscopic right rotator cuff repair -A case report-.

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  • 1Department Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine, Chonnam National University Medical School, Gwangju, Korea.


A clinically apparent thromboembolism associated with arthroscopic shoulder surgery is extremely rare. We report a case of a fatal pulmonary embolism developed after an arthroscopic rotator cuff repair in a 45-year-old woman. On the first day after surgery, she experienced syncope that was complicated by cardiac arrest. No hemostasis impairment was noted. A computed tomography scan revealed a pulmonary embolism, and Doppler ultrasound revealed thrombosis of the axillary vein on the contralateral shoulder. She died from multiple organ failure 13 days after surgery. This case shows that clinicians must be aware of the potential occurrence of a pulmonary thromboembolism in patients undergoing prolonged arthroscopic shoulder surgery.


Deep venous thrombosis; Fatal pulmonary embolism; Rotator cuff repair; Shoulder arthroscopy

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