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Case Report

RMJ. 2012; 37(4): 442-444

Venous air embolism after accidental iliac vein injury during pelvic surgery

Ki Hwa Lee, Eun Su Kang, Sang Yoon Jeon, Yong Han Kim, Jae Wook Jung, Si Ra Bang.


Venous air embolism (VAE) can be a lethal complication of surgical procedures. Though classically associated with neurosurgery, VAE is also a potential complication of pelvic procedures. This paper concerns a case of a VAE that occurred during laparotomy in a 79-year-old-woman. The vital signs of the woman deteriorated abruptly when the iliac vessel was opened. The patient¡¯s ETCO2 and blood pressure fell to 7 mmHg and 76/35 mmHg, respectively and the cause was believed to be VAE. Therefore, it is essential for the practicing anesthesiologist to recognize and understand the management of VAE.

Key words: Air embolism, laparotomy

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