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Korean J Anesthesiol. 1998 Oct;35(4):777-780. Korean. Case Report.
Choi IC , Kim YS , Cho SD , Song NW .
Department of Anesthesiology, Maryknoll Hospital, Pusan, Korea.

Fatal air embolism can occur during a variety of surgical procedures. We experienced a case of cardiac arrest due to venous air embolism during spinal fusion. A 63-year-old woman underwent spinal fusion for compression fracture on L1 and scolio-kyphosis. Anesthetic induction and initial intraoperative course were completely uneventful until precipitous blood pressure drop occurred, and accompanied by a significant decrease in heart rate and cardiac arrest after use of bone cement. Although more common intraoperative events were presumed and treatment initiated, venous air embolism was considered the etiology of these events when whirring noise was detected by esophageal sthetoscope and a transient decrease in end-tidal carbon dioxide tension was noted by capnometer. We performed cardiac resuscitation with external cardiac compression, various cardiotonic drugs, and removal of air through the right internal jugular venous catheter, but the result was unsuccessful.

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