Scubadoc’s Ten Foot Stop

June 1, 2009

Arterial gas embolism: a review of cases

Filed under: Article, Publication — admin @ 12:20 pm

Arterial gas embolism: a review of cases

There is an article in Anaesth Intensive Care. 2008 Jan;36(1):60-4, “Arterial gas embolism: a review of cases at Prince of Wales Hospital, Sydney, 1996 to 2006″ by Trytko BE, Bennett MH that is well written and reports on the experience of a hyperbaric facility that utilizes evidence based guidelines for HBO treatment. 

Arterial gas embolism may occur as a complication of diving or certain medical procedures. Although relatively rare, the consequences may be disastrous. Recent articles in the critical care literature suggest the non-hyperbaric medical community may not be aware of the role for hyperbaric oxygen therapy in non-diving related gas embolism. This review is part of an Australian appraisal of experience in the management of arterial gas embolism over the last 10 years. We identified all patients referred to Prince of Wales Hospital Department of Diving and Hyperbaric Medicine with a diagnosis of arterial gas embolism from 1996 to 2006. Twenty-six patient records met our selection criteria, eight iatrogenic and 18 diving related. All patients were treated initially with a 280 kPa compression schedule. At discharge six patients were left with residual symptoms. Four were left with minor symptoms that did not significantly impact quality of life. Two remained severely affected with major neurological injury. Both had non-diving-related arterial gas embolism. There was a good outcome in the majority of patients who presented with arterial gas embolism and were treated with compression.

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