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Year : 2003  |  Volume : 51  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 370--372

Venous air embolism: Does the site of embolism influence the hemodynamic changes?

Department of Neuroanesthesia, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi - 110029, India

Correspondence Address:
P Bithal
Department of Neuroanaesthesiology Neurosciences Centre, All India Institute of Medical Sciences New Delhi - 110029
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

PMID: 14652442

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Three hundred and ninety-seven patients undergoing posterior cranial fossa surgery in the sitting position were prospectively studied to evaluate the incidence of venous air embolism (VAE) and its effects on hemodynamics. End-tidal carbon dioxide (ETC02) tension was monitored to diagnose VAE. A sudden and sustained decrease in ETC02 of more than 5 mmHg, in the absence of sudden hypovolemia, was presumed to be the result of VAE. The site of probable air entrainment (whether muscle, bone or tumor) was noted. Hemodynamic consequences were managed symptomatically. ETC02 monitoring detected VAE in 22% of the patients. The highest incidence of embolism resulted from muscles and tumor (40% in each case). Forty-two per cent of patients developed hypotension during the embolic episode (systolic BP less than 100 mmHg). Ten per cent of patients developed ventricular arrhythmias during the embolic episode. Air aspiration was successful in 4.8%. There were no statistically significant differences in the frequency of VAE among the different groups (P>0.05). Also, the frequency of hypotension and ventricular arrhythmias were not significantly different, irrespective of the source of VAE (P>0.05). The general condition of the patients in the preoperative stage had no influence on the incidence of embolism, hypotension or ventricular arrhythmias.


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Online since 20th March '04
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