Air embolism risk factors

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

Overview

The technique and positioning of a patient during many invasive procedures plays a role in the risk of a patient developing air embolism.

Risk Factors

  • Common risk factors in the development of air embolism are:
  • Operative site more that 5cm above the right atrium[1]
  • Numerous uncompressed venous channels in surgical site[2]
  • Pressure gradient during surgery[3]
  • Insertion or removal of catheter[4]
    • Fracture/de attachment of catheter
    • Failure to occlude needle hub
    • Deep inspiration
    • Hypovolemia
    • Up right position
  • Scuba diving[5]
    • Rapid ascent rate
    • Diving too long
    • Diving at great depth

References

  1. Nissar Shaikh & Firdous Ummunisa (2009). "Acute management of vascular air embolism". Journal of emergencies, trauma, and shock. 2 (3): 180–185. PMID 20009308. doi:10.4103/0974-2700.55330. 
  2. Nissar Shaikh & Firdous Ummunisa (2009). "Acute management of vascular air embolism". Journal of emergencies, trauma, and shock. 2 (3): 180–185. PMID 20009308. doi:10.4103/0974-2700.55330. 
  3. J. P. Flanagan, I. A. Gradisar, R. J. Gross & T. R. Kelly (1969). "Air embolus--a lethal complication of subclavian venipuncture". The New England journal of medicine. 281 (9): 488–489. PMID 5796967. doi:10.1056/NEJM196908282810907. 
  4. Nissar Shaikh & Firdous Ummunisa (2009). "Acute management of vascular air embolism". Journal of emergencies, trauma, and shock. 2 (3): 180–185. PMID 20009308. doi:10.4103/0974-2700.55330. 
  5. J. Aharon-Peretz, Y. Adir, C. R. Gordon, S. Kol, N. Gal & Y. Melamed (1993). "Spinal cord decompression sickness in sport diving". Archives of neurology. 50 (7): 753–756. PMID 8323480. 



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