Palmon SC, Moore LE, Lundberg J, Toung T. Venous air embolism: a review. J Clin Anesth. 1997 May;9(3):251-7. Review.
Venous air embolism (VAE) can be a lethal complication of surgical procedures, during which (1) venous pressure at the site of surgery is subatmospheric or (2) gas is forced under pressure into a body cavity. Though classically associated with neurosurgery, VAE is also a potential complication of laparoscopic, pelvic, and orthopedic procedures. It is, therefore, essential for the practicing anesthesiologist to recognize and treat venous air entrainment. An in-depth review of the pathophysiology, clinical presentation, detection, prevention, and treatment of VAE is presented.