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Clin Med Insights Cardiol. 2016 May 19;10:67-70. doi: 10.4137/CMC.S38040. eCollection 2016.

Multiple Air Embolism During Coronary Angiography: How Do We Deal With It?

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Department of Cardiology and Vascular Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Airlangga University, Dr. Soetomo General Hospital, Surabaya, Indonesia.


Coronary air embolism remains a serious complication of cardiac catheterization despite careful prevention. The complications of coronary air embolism range from clinically insignificant events to acute coronary syndrome, cardiogenic shock, and death. We report here a case of multiple air emboli in both left coronary arteries, complicated by cardiogenic shock and ventricular fibrillation in a 49-year-old male patient undergoing elective percutaneous coronary intervention. The patient recovered after supportive measures, including oxygen, intravenous dopamine infusion, and cardiac compression, and repeated forceful injection of heparinized saline successfully resolved the air emboli. He then eventually underwent successful percutaneous coronary intervention in the left anterior descending artery without any residual stenosis.


air embolism; cardiogenic shock; coronary arteries; saline injection; ventricular fibrillation

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