A member asked:

What happens when you have an air embolism?

5 doctors weighed in across 2 answers
Dr. Terry Simpson answered

Specializes in General Surgery

The air typically is broken up as it goes through tissues- rare it causes strokes or other issues.

Answered Mar 30, 2016

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Dr. Geoffrey Rutledge answered

Specializes in Internal Medicine

As dr. Simpson says, usually nothing happens when a small amount of air enters the veins. It is trapped in the lung and absorbed. However, if the amount of air is large, it can block blood flow in the lung. Also, if there is a hole in the heart (atrial septal defect), or a so-called "shunt" of blood that bypasses the lung, air can get into the arteries and cause a stroke.

Answered Mar 31, 2019

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