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J Clin Med. 2016 Oct 31;5(11). pii: E93.

Air Embolism: Practical Tips for Prevention and Treatment.

Author information

1
Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Division of Interventional Radiology, 55 Fruit Street, GRB-290A, Boston, MA 02114, USA. colin.mccarthy@mgh.harvard.edu.
2
Mayo Clinic Arizona, Division of Vascular & Interventional Radiology, Phoenix, AZ 85054, USA. Behravesh.sasan@mayo.edu.
3
Mayo Clinic Arizona, Division of Vascular & Interventional Radiology, Phoenix, AZ 85054, USA. Naidu.Sailen@mayo.edu.
4
Mayo Clinic Arizona, Division of Vascular & Interventional Radiology, Phoenix, AZ 85054, USA. oklu.rahmi@mayo.edu.

Abstract

Air embolism is a rarely encountered but much dreaded complication of surgical procedures that can cause serious harm, including death. Cases that involve the use of endovascular techniques have a higher risk of air embolism; therefore, a heightened awareness of this complication is warranted. In particular, central venous catheters and arterial catheters that are often placed and removed in most hospitals by a variety of medical practitioners are at especially high risk for air embolism. With appropriate precautions and techniques it can be preventable. This article reviews the causes of air embolism, clinical management and prevention techniques.

KEYWORDS:

Air embolism; catheter; embolization; endovascular

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