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New case study by Dr. Murkin and colleagues in the Journal of Cardiothoracic and Vascular Anesthesia

J Cardiothorac Vasc Anesth. 2015 Feb 4. doi: 10.1053/j.jvca.2014.10.007. [Epub ahead of print]

Early detection and treatment of an air embolism during cardiac surgery.

Weiner MM, Wicker J, Fischer GW, Adams DH, Bronster D, Evans AS, Murkin JM, Grocott HP


The inadvertent introduction of air during cardiac surgery into the ascending aorta before aortic cross clamping is a rare but potentially catastrophic complication. Cardiac surgeons and anesthesiologists must be prepared to deal with this emergency, because rapid and decisive action can prevent or attenuate severe neurologic injury that may result from an air embolism. The authors present a case of an air embolism during mitral valve repair surgery that was treated successfully with early detection and management. A continuous quality improvement process following a previous instance of air embolism contributed to the successful outcome. 


cardiac surgery, cardiopulmonary bypass, air embolism

Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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