Air embolism natural history, complications and prognosis

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

Overview

Air embolism can range from subclinical to fatal. Treatment must be initiated immediately upon suspicion.

Natural History

  • Early clinical features include chest pain dyspnea, and altered mental status.
  • Common complications of air embolism include, stroke, seizures, and infarction of various organs.
  • Prognosis is generally variable,it depends on the size and location of the embolism , and the mortality rate of patients with air embolism is approximately 48-80%.[1]
  • A 200-300ml bolus or 3-5 ml/kg of air in a human is fatal[2]

Complications

  • Common complications of air embolism include, stroke, seizures, and infarction of various organs.
  • A 200-300ml bolus or 3-5 ml/kg of air in a human is fatal[3]

Prognosis

  • Prognosis is generally variable,it depends on the size and location of the embolism , and the mortality rate of patients with air embolism is approximately 48-80%.[4]
  • Rapid treatment leads to a better prognosis

References

  1. A. M. Ho & E. Ling (1999). "Systemic air embolism after lung trauma". Anesthesiology. 90 (2): 564–575. PMID 9952165. Unknown parameter |month= ignored (help)
  2. T. J. Toung, M. I. Rossberg & G. M. Hutchins (2001). "Volume of air in a lethal venous air embolism". Anesthesiology. 94 (2): 360–361. PMID 11176104. Unknown parameter |month= ignored (help)
  3. T. J. Toung, M. I. Rossberg & G. M. Hutchins (2001). "Volume of air in a lethal venous air embolism". Anesthesiology. 94 (2): 360–361. PMID 11176104. Unknown parameter |month= ignored (help)
  4. A. M. Ho & E. Ling (1999). "Systemic air embolism after lung trauma". Anesthesiology. 90 (2): 564–575. PMID 9952165. Unknown parameter |month= ignored (help)



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