Air embolism (patient information)
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Air embolism is a rare but fatal complication of certain surgical procedures and can occur during deep sea diving. Air embolism is an air bubble in the body.
What are the symptoms of Air embolism?
- Symptoms of air embolism include:
What causes Air embolism?
- Entrapment of an air bubble in a blood vessel can impede blood flow to and from an organ and cause dysfunction.
- For example and air bubble impeding blood flow to the brain can cause seizures, headache and a variety of other symptoms
Who is at highest risk?
Air embolism is mostly a complication of certain medical procedures:
- Head/Neck Surgery
- Abdominal Surgery
- Venous catheters
- Contrast Studies
- Mechanical Ventilation
- Gynecological Surgery
- Lung Biopsy
Other Risk Factors include:
- Deep sea diving
- Blunt chest trauma
Air embolism is suspected in patients with a history of :
There is no one test for air embolism, but certain labs and procedures can help point to a diagnosis:
When to seek urgent medical care?
Go to the emergency room or call the local emergency number if you suspect you have an air embolism.
- It is a Medical Emergency
- The main therapy for air embolism is high flow oxygen therapy.
- If air lodges in the heart, aspiration of air is a treatment option.
Where to find medical care for Air embolism
Medical care for an air embolism can be found at your nearest emergency department.
What to expect (Outlook/Prognosis)?
Air embolism is a Medical Emergency and should be treated immediately.
With immediate and rapid treatment, patients can expect full recovery.
There are a variety of complications that can occur depending on the location of the air embolism:
It not treated immediately it can be fatal.