Massive air embolus to the left ventricle: Diagnosis and monitoring by serial echocardiography

Kathleen R. Kearney, Mikel D. Smith, Gong Yuan Xie, John C. Gurley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Air embolization is an unusual but potentially dangerous complication in left heart catheterization. Microbubbles can be detected with two-dimensional echocardiography, which is often used for this purpose during open heart and bypass surgeries. Permanent neurologic sequelae and hemodynamic collapse can result from embolization of air bubbles to the cerebral and coronary circulations, respectively. Hyperbaric oxygen is the treatment of choice for cerebral air embolization. We present a 39-year-old man who had air embolization during left ventriculography in the form of a large pocket of "pooled" air. The patient was treated with conservative therapy successfully. Two-dimensional transthoracic echocardiography was used to document the presence of the air and follow its dissolution.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)982-987
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of the American Society of Echocardiography
Issue number9
StatePublished - 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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