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Doctor insights on: Air Embolism

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Dr. Geoffrey Rutledge
106 Doctors shared insights

Air Embolism (Overview)

Blood vessels are made to carry blood - liquid. A small amount of air in a vessel is not usually a big deal as it will be absorbed into the blood. Larger volumes of air (10 mL or larger) can be significant to block blood flow in that vessel. That is bad in the brain (stroke) and really bad in the heart because it will stop beating.


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What happens when you have an air embolism?

What happens when you have an air embolism?

Occasional problems: 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. ...Read more

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Dr. Geoffrey Rutledge
106 Doctors shared insights

Air Embolism (Overview)

Blood vessels are made to carry blood - liquid. A small amount of air in a vessel is not usually a big deal as it will be absorbed into the blood. Larger volumes of air (10 mL or larger) can be significant to block blood flow in that vessel. That is bad in the brain (stroke) and really bad in the heart because it will stop beating.


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What are the symptoms of air embolism?

What are the symptoms of air embolism?

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. ...Read more

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What are the tests for air embolism?

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. ...Read more

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Is it possible for rough sex during early pregnancy to cause air embolism?

Is it possible for rough sex during early pregnancy to cause air embolism?

Never heard of that: Doubtful, but I guess anything is possible. One of the causes listed in the literature for free air in the abdomen is "rough sex." I guess one could translate that to the possibility of air embolism. ...Read more

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How do you treat an air embolism?

Hyperbaric Chamber: The use of 100% oxygen, breathed under increased atmospheric pressure in a hyperbaric chamber, is commonly used to treat air-embolism. This is especially true for those emboli that impair circulation to the nervous system/brain. ...Read more

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What is the treatment for air embolism?

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. ...Read more

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What are the treatments for air embolism from an iv?

What are the treatments for air embolism from an iv?

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. ...Read more

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How do you treat an air embolism?

Hyperbaric Chamber: The use of 100% oxygen, breathed under increased atmospheric pressure in a hyperbaric chamber, is commonly used to treat air-embolism. This is especially true for those emboli that impair circulation to the nervous system/brain. ...Read more

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Scared I have air embolism from sex?

Not likely: Pneumoperitoneum (free air) in the abdomen potentially can occur if the introitus (read: vagina) is blown into... As beyond the cervix, at the fimbria of the fallopian tubes is a direct opening into the abdomen-pelvis. The fimbria open up to but are not fused to their respective ovary. Air embolism only occurs when, say, an IV is injected with air (poor technique)... ...Read more

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What are the tests for air embolism?

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. ...Read more

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What are the symptoms of air embolism?

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. ...Read more

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What sort of problem is an air embolism?

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. ...Read more

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Is an air embolism after 24 hrs possible?

Highly unlikely: Where should the air come from? Why are you concerned about air embolism? 24 hours after what?

Injection of air may cause embolism, within seconds or minutes. But 24 hours? Makes no sense. ...Read more

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What happens when you have an air embolism?

Occasional problems: 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. ...Read more

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Would I die right away from an air embolism?

Air embolism: An air embolism is a real issue but death only occurs when significant enough air goes through to block adequate blood flow. Fortunately in most air embolisms the end result is not death. ...Read more

Dr. Clarence Grim
1 Doctor shared a insight

Embolus (Definition)

Usually a blood clot that migrates from one area of the body to another. Most commonly a clot from a leg vein to the lung. It can also pertain to a clot, or atheromatous material that moves from one segment to another, such as cholesterol material in a carotid lesion moving into the ...Read more


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