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February 24, 1940


JAMA. 1940;114(8):652-653. doi:10.1001/jama.1940.62810080001008

The incidence of air embolism is not high, but it is a potential danger whenever air is injected into any organ or tissue of the body. The increasing popularity of perirenal insufflation as an aid in the diagnosis of tumors of the retroperitoneum makes pertinent a note of warning concerning the method.

The literature abounds with clinical reports of death from gas embolism following the introduction of air or oxygen into the urethra, bladder, uterus, pleura, peritoneum or blood stream. It would be paradoxical to assume that the retroperitoneal space is endowed with an invulnerability which these other structures do not enjoy. I cite a case from my own experience to attest the fact that this region is subject to the same hazard.

A white woman aged 38 entered the hospital complaining of a swelling in her right flank of four months' duration. On physical examination a smooth, extremely hard

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