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Reumatol Clin. 2013 Jul-Aug;9(4):239-42. doi: 10.1016/j.reuma.2012.07.005. Epub 2013 Mar 6.

Cement pulmonary embolism after vertebroplasty.

[Article in English, Spanish]

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Servicio de Reumatología, Hospital Universitario Ramón y Cajal, Madrid, España.


In recent years, the use of vertebral cementing techniques for vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty has spread for the treatment of pain associated with osteoporotic vertebral compression fractures. This is also associated with the increased incidence of complications related with these procedures, the most frequent being originated by leakage of cementation material. Cement can escape into the vertebral venous system and reach the pulmonary circulation through the azygous system and cava vein, producing a cement embolism. This is a frequent complication, occurring in up to 26% of patients undergoing vertebroplasty but, since most patients have no clinical or hemodynamical repercussion, this event usually goes unnoticed. However, some serious, and even fatal cases, have been reported. We report the case of a 74-year-old male patient who underwent vertebroplasty for persistent pain associated with osteoporotic L3 vertebral fracture and who developed a cement leak into the cava vein and right pulmonary artery during the procedure. Although he developed a pulmonary cement embolism, the patient remained asymptomatic and did not present complications during follow-up.


Cement pulmonary embolism; Embolismo pulmonar por cemento; Fractura vertebral; Osteoporosis; Vertebral compression fracture; Vertebroplastia; Vertebroplasty

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