Air embolism history and symptoms

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]

Overview

There are no specific symptoms for air embolism, and it can be misdiagnosed as many other conditions. The History of a patient plays an important role in its diagnosis

History and Symptoms

  • The diagnosis of air embolism is clinical and should be suspected in patients with history of:
  • High risk procedures
  • Scuba diving
  • Trauma to head, neck, thorax or abdomen
  • Hemodialysis catheters
  • Positive pressure ventilation
  • Symptoms of air embolism depend on:[1]
    • the location
    • size of the emboli
    • rate of emboli formation
    • patient spontaneously breathing
    • patient under controlled positive pressure ventilation
  • Symptoms include the following:
  • Dyspnea
  • Cough
  • Chest pain
  • Mental status changes
  • Dizziness/ Vertigo
  • Nausea
  • Syncope
  • Headache
  • Anxiety

References

  1. Marek A. Mirski, Abhijit Vijay Lele, Lunei Fitzsimmons & Thomas J. K. Toung (2007). "Diagnosis and treatment of vascular air embolism". Anesthesiology. 106 (1): 164–177. PMID 17197859. Unknown parameter |month= ignored (help)



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