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Chirurgia 2008 April;21(2):105-7

language: English

CT diagnosis of air embolism with treatment by patient positioning and aspiration

Van Geertruyden P. H. 1, Sees D. W. 2, Malave D. 2, Van Geertruyden P. H. 1

1 Department of Radiology Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Washington, DC, USA
2 Cardiothoracic Surgery Service Brooke Army Medical Center, San Antonio, Texas, USA


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The treatment of venous air embolism includes placing a patient in the left lateral decubitus position, giving supplemental oxygen, aspirating air from the venous system, and hyperbaric oxygen therapy. We report the case of a 63-year-old woman with CT diagnosed left brachiocephalic venous air, pneumomediastinum, and pneuomopericardium, who was successfully treated with a combination of patient positioning and subsequent aspiration of air from a preexisting venous catheter. We review the treatments for venous air embolism and detail our technique. This case appears to be the first reported successful treatment of air embolism using a combination of patient positioning and subsequent air aspiration.

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