A life-threatening condition: The pulmonary artery air embolism
Emin Uysal, Nagihan Alkan, Betul Cam
Department of Emergency Medicine, University of Health Sciences, Bagcilar Training and Research Hospital, Istanbul, Turkey
Keywords: Air embolism, Pulmonary artery, Injection of contrast agent
Introduction: Air embolism is a very rare condition which occurs when air or gas enter into the vascular system in either the venous or arterial route. It can occur following a variety of circumstances ranging from invasive procedures to either blunt or penetrating trauma conditions.
Case presentation: We present a case of a 39-year-old male who had an air embolism in the pulmonary artery as a consequence of the injection of a contrast agent. He had dyspnea and chest pain following a contrast-enhanced chest computed tomography imaging. He was successfully treated and discharged from our hospital.
Conclusion: Air embolism is rare, but can be fatal. The critical care providers should be familiar with the signs indicating air embolism and be ready to perform the main therapeutic maneuvers. Early detection of this clinical condition is essential to prevent morbidity and mortality.