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A 41-year-old member asked:

is air embolism lethal?

2 doctor answers6 doctors weighed in
Dr. Mark Iafrati
Vascular Surgery 36 years experience
It depends.: Two critical issues. Volume of air and where the air goes. For example if a small amount of air enters a vein and travels through an intact heart to the lungs it is trapped by the lungs and causes no problem. However if the air embolism is caused by a burst air sac in the lung as can happen in scuba, or if there is "hole" (patent foramen) in the heart, a small amount of air (<1 oz) can be fatal.
Dr. Trushar Dungarani
Internal Medicine 12 years experience
It can be: Air emboli can be very lethal.

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A 44-year-old member asked:

What sort of problem is an air embolism?

1 doctor answer5 doctors weighed in
Dr. LUIS IRIZARRY
A Verified Doctor answered
A US doctor answered Learn more
Air emolism: This is serious. Is common in scuba divers diving deeper than 60 feet. Basically you blood which is liquid becomes bubbelish (like when you open a soda can) causing lack of oxygen to your brain. It can kill you instanly.
Dr. Carlo Contreras
A Verified Doctor commented
A US doctor answered Learn more
Air embolism can also result from certain medical procedures including central venous catheter placement and operations that require repair of major blood vessels.
Feb 11, 2012
A 45-year-old member asked:

What are the symptoms of air embolism?

2 doctor answers7 doctors weighed in
Dr. Sue Ferranti
Internal Medicine 29 years experience
Symptoms....: Air embolism is very serious and is often life-threatening. Symptoms can include sudden onset of shortness of breath, chest pain, hallucinations, passing out, low oxygen levels, cardiac arrhythmias, etc. There also needs to be a way for air to enter the bloodstream, travel to the heart/lungs and obstruct. This always requires emergent care and can be deadly.
A 33-year-old member asked:

What are the tests for air embolism?

1 doctor answer1 doctor weighed in
Dr. Gurmukh Singh
Pathology 49 years experience
Air in the heart: If air is introduced in venous side of the circulation if often foams in the heart and may be visible on routine chest x-ray as areas of low density in the heart, especially right atrium. There are no lab tests specific for air embolism. Usually it takes about 100 cc of air to cause symptoms and lesser amount may go unnoticed.
A 36-year-old member asked:

What is the treatment for air embolism?

1 doctor answer1 doctor weighed in
Dr. Gurmukh Singh
Pathology 49 years experience
Oxygen, hyperbaric: Depending on the cause of air embolism, treatment with oxygen or in severe cases with hyperbaric oxygen may be needed. Introduction of less than 100 cc of air in the venous side may not require specific treatment. Air embolism due to decompression sickness is the main reason for using hyperbaric oxygen, i.e., putting the patient in a chamber with high pressure.
A 41-year-old member asked:

What are the treatments for air embolism from an iv?

1 doctor answer3 doctors weighed in
Dr. Bradley Thomas
Vascular Surgery 19 years experience
Depends. : Small amount (a few bubbles) are generally very well tolerated and do not need any treatment. Large amounts entering the central veins, especially during prodedures like a central line placement, is more concerning. The best "treatment" is prevention - like keeping the patients head below the heart. If air embolism occurs we are taught to position patients certain ways and aspirate.

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